Saturday 21 April 2018

Speed traps saved 24 lives last year, say gardai as they roll out 273 more

Treacy Hogan

Gardai claimed that speed cameras saved a total of 24 lives last year.

The figures emerged as another 273 speed traps were rolled out around the country.

The extra speed-camera zones bring the number of locations policed by the privately operated GoSafe speed vans to 727.

New garda research has shown that a 30pc death rate for crashes in the first high-risk zones has fallen to 17pc – the equivalent of 26 fewer deaths last year alone.

The roll-out of hundreds of new speed camera zones, first disclosed in the Irish Independent in January, will be completed by the end of next month.

While the GoSafe camera vans will only be allowed to operate in zones where special signs are erected, gardai will still carry out speed checks in other locations.

Half of all road deaths happen in the 727 zones, covering 2,354km, or 2.5pc of the 96,000km of road network.

Launching the new camera locations yesterday, gardai revealed that drivers are slowing down for fear of being caught, and this is being reflected in fatalities figures.

Less than one person per hour out of thousands of cars filmed by the cameras is now being caught over the speed limit.

Since the cameras started rolling in November 2010, more than 408,000 drivers have been hit with speed penalty points as a result of being caught with both GoSafe and Garda robot vans.

While this equates to €32.64m in revenue for the State, gardai deny that the cameras are "a revenue generating exercise," and insist the aim is to save lives.

GoSafe is paid a set amount of money, and do not get a fee per catch.

More than 60pc of the new 243 stretches where cameras will be sited are regional or local roads with the remainder on national roads.

Safety cameras only operate on sections of road which have a history of collisions occurring where speed was a contributory factor.

Speeding

New speed surveys show in the two years from January 2011 to January 2013, compliance has increased:

• In 50 km/h zones from 62pc to 93pc;

• In 60 km/h zones from 78pc to 91pc;

• In 80 km/h zones from 89pc to 97pc;

• In 100 km/h zones from 96pc to 99pc.

In the same period road deaths fell to record lows with 186 deaths in 2011 and 162 deaths in 2012.

A total of 34 zones were removed from the list for GoSafe enforcement, but will still be monitored by gardai.

Speaking at the launch of the new GoSafe locations in Dublin yesterday, Garda Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips said the high visibility enforcement meant the a large number of deaths had been prevented last year.

"We can never be complacent about road safety and think the job is finished, that is why we are releasing these new GoSafe safety camera locations," Mr Phillips added.

"We want people to become familiar with them, realise why they are there and to slow down."

New signs alerting drivers that they are in the speed camera zones will be completed by the end of next month.

For a map of the new speed camera zones, go to www.garda.ie

Irish Independent

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