Speed cameras FAQ: What the Gardai say

Photo of a GoSafe van (Garda Press Office)

A map of the new speed camera high-risk areas in Dublin and around the country is here, while below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions from the Garda Press Office is below.

Garda FAQ on speed cameras:

What is involved in the new safety camera project?
The primary purpose of this initiative is to reduce speed related collisions and save lives. As part of the Road Safety Strategy 2007 – 2012, the GoSafe consortium has been contracted to operate new safety cameras on our roads on behalf of the Garda organisation.

When will the safety cameras be in operation?
From midnight on Monday 15th November 2010, safety cameras will be on the roads all across Ireland where fatal collisions are happening as a result of inappropriate speed.

Why do we need safety cameras?
The safety cameras will save lives through a reduction in fatal and serious speed related collisions. Excessive or inappropriate speeding continues to be a significant contributory factor in road traffic collisions.

Who will operate the safety cameras?
The safety cameras will be operated by trained GoSafe personnel using a range of vehicles. Safety cameras will be on the roads all across Ireland where fatal collisions are happening as a result of inappropriate speed.

What times of day, days of the week, will they operate at?
The cameras will operate 24 hours, 7 days a week.

How will the locations be decided?  Who is responsible for deciding the locations?
An Garda Síochána has completed an extensive analysis of the collision history on the road network.  Sections of road have been identified where a significant proportion of collisions occurred where speed was a contributory factor. The Garda National Traffic Bureau (GNTB) will decide on the locations where the speed cameras will operate.

Do the private operators get paid a bonus based on the number of speeding detections they make?
No. In accordance with the contract, GoSafe will be paid on the basis of enforcement hours and survey hours conducted.

What happens if a motorist drives past one of the safety cameras while exceeding the speed limit?
When a motorist is detected speeding, the offence details and images will be validated and the vehicle registration numbers recorded by GoSafe. The data will then be sent electronically by GoSafe to the Garda IT Section, where it will be uploaded into the Fixed Charge Processing System (FCPS).

The motorist will then receive a fixed charge notice in the normal way through the post. This will be administered by the Fixed Charge Processing Office (FCPO), Thurles in the same way as detections made by Garda personnel. For information on why you should slow down and a list of penalties for speeding, please visit the Garda website, garda.ie.

How will people know where the cameras will be?
GoSafe will only operate on sections of road which have a history of collisions occurring where speed was a contributory factor. The areas where the cameras are operating are available on the Garda website – garda.ie.

What will the safety cameras look like?
The cameras will operate from vans which will be marked with high visibility reflective material and display a safety camera symbol.

Do the safety cameras have additional capabilities, compared to the existing Garda speed detection methods?
The camera technology is similar to that currently operated by An Garda Síochána.

How many penalty points are applicable and what is the fine?
To see information on penalty points and fines associated with speeding, please visit the Garda website, garda.ie.

Is this a revenue-generating exercise?
No. The key objective of the project is to reduce the number of speed related collisions and therefore save lives. GoSafe will be paid on the basis of enforcement hours and survey hours conducted. The hourly rates to be paid are not linked in any way to the number of detections made.

What is the GoSafe consortium?
Road Safety Operations Ireland – trading as GoSafe – is an Irish Limited Company originally formed to fulfil the requirements of An Garda Síochána for the Provision and Operation of Safety Cameras in Ireland.  GoSafe is owned by three equity partners.

What are the dangers associated with speeding?
The principal dangers associated with speeding are:
  • Increased chance of loss of life
  • Increased damage as a result of collision i.e. death or serious injury as opposed to minor or no injury
  • Inability to stop vehicle in time to avoid collision
What if I believe the speed limit on a road is inappropriate?
Setting speed limits is the statutory function of the local authorities. As part of this project, speed surveys will be carried out in all speed collision zones.  An Garda Síochána, the National Roads Authority and local authorities will work together to determine the appropriateness of speed limits within zones.

What else are Gardaí doing to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads?
An Garda Síochána is committed to reducing fatal and serious injuries on our roads and improving road safety. All road users must face up to their responsibilities and stop reckless behaviour which endangers themselves, their families, friends and neighbours, and indeed other innocent road users.

Our people receive ongoing training to enable them to detect a wide range of road traffic offences, including speeding. Visible Garda enforcement measures, as well as the use of technology, including cameras, assists in achieving compliance amongst road users for a range of road safety measures.
We will use a range of equipment such as:
  • Handheld and tripod mounted laser guns;
  • Vehicle mounted Puma speed detection equipment, (both marked and unmarked vehicles);
  • Van mounted automatic speed detection radars (Garda operated);
  • Van mounted Go-Safe vans (civilian operated).
An Garda Síochána’s Road Safety Unit delivers presentations on road safety to a number of groups in the community, including those which are specific to younger audiences including schools and colleges and youth clubs, in order to lead to changes in driver behaviour.

Our education programme, ‘It won’t happen to me’, is included in the Transition Year syllabus. The Unit also provides road safety information at major public exhibitions which attract younger people, such as The Young Scientist Exhibition, and a variety of car and motorcycle shows.

How many detections do you anticipate GoSafe to make during the first month / year of operation?
We’re hoping for none. The objective is to reduce speed and save lives.

What is the experience in other countries?
Based on the experience in other countries, safety cameras have saved lives and reduced speed across the road network. While it is difficult to give a direct comparison between different countries, the following examples illustrate the positive effects of safety cameras.

  • In Northern Ireland, during the first three years of the safety cameras, there was a 41% reduction in fatal and serious injury collisions.
  • In France, there was a 30% reduction in fatalities between 2002 – 2005 and 75% of this reduction was attributed to safety cameras.
  • In Spain, there was a mean speed reduction between 3-4km, depending on the type of road measured.
Are your other enforcement strategies not working?
Yes, they are. There were 395 people killed on Irish roads in 2005. The number of fatalities has almost halved since then and there has been a declining curve since 2008. One death is one too many and we will continue to use all the resources and technology available to us to reduce the number of fatal and serious collisions on our roads.

The perception of being caught is very low?
That may be the perception but the reality is that there have been over 100,000 detections for speeding this year so far.

How will you measure the success of this project?
The success will be measured based on a reduction in speed across the road network, as well as based on a reduction in the number of fatal and serious collisions on our roads.

Based on the experience with other projects, for example the introduction of penalty points and mandatory alcohol testing, we anticipate that there will be an immediate reduction in speed across the road network followed by a long-term reduction which will lead to saving lives.

What happens if speed and collisions drop?
This is the overall aim of the project so we will view this outcome as a success for the entire community and for the partnership approach which was adopted.

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