Private firm to set speed traps at 600 collision blackspots
MORE than 150 private sector employees will target drivers in the biggest ever speeding clampdown from October.
Private company GoSafe was due to start a nationwide network of mobile speed cameras this summer -- more than 10 years after they were first planned.
But the Irish Independent has learned senior gardai do not expect it to be rolled out until the autumn.
The project is a key plank in the Government's Road Safety Strategy 2007-2012, where it states the privately operated cameras will be rolling "by the second quarter of 2008".
In the previous strategy, the camera network was promised for 2000.
Sources last night said GoSafe staff were carrying out "safety checks" at more than 600 primary and secondary roads recommended by gardai as speeding blackspots.
GoSafe provides all staff and equipment to carry out the speed checks, starting out with 45 mobile cameras.
However, gardai have overall responsibility for the service and will take measures against the offending drivers.
Road Safety Authority (RSA) chief executive Noel Brett said the main purpose of the project was not to catch and punish speeding motorists, but to reduce the level of speeding on the roads and save lives.
"The idea is ... to deter them from dangerous driving on dangerous roads," said Mr Brett.
"It is a simple fact that speed is the biggest cause of fatal crashes on Irish roads.
"Put simply, the speed at which you are travelling when you have a crash determines the outcome.
"We urge people to slow down and be particularly conscious of their speed," added Mr Brett.
The project will be revenue-neutral and it is estimated it will pay for itself if 500 motorists every day pay an €80 speeding fine.
Initial government plans in 1998 were to purchase 600 fixed cameras to be located at accident blackspots around the country.
But gardai are now satisfied that mobile cameras are more effective.
The contract provides for 6,000 hours of filming by the cameras every month.
Motorways and dual-carriageways will account for less than 3pc of speed checks and half of the checks will be made on national roads.
Checks will be either covert or overt and their location, frequency, timing and duration determined by gardai, based on collision-prone zones.
The private project will create 100 jobs, of which 45 will be based in Listowel, the headquarters of Spectra Laboratories, which heads up the GoSafe consortium.