Drivers face an extra 355 new speed cameras on the roads, with a further 26 devices to be located in Dublin, 24 in Mayo, and 22 in Cork.
A 50% expansion of the camera system brings the total to 1,031, with the new units operational from next Friday to coincide with National Slow Down Day.
The increase came as figures show the strength of the Garda Traffic Corps fell from over 1,000 in 2010 to just over 700 currently.
“Speed is the number one killer on our roads,” said Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid. “There is no doubt these safety cameras save lives.”
Safety cameras prevented an estimated 71 deaths between 2011 and 2014.
At a briefing yesterday, Sergeant Derek Cloughley said the current 676 zones account for 14% of all fatal accidents, even though they comprise just 3.7% of the road network.
He said an updated analysis of collisions led to a decision to introduce cameras in 355 new zones and remove cameras from 49 zones.
Sgt Cloughley said “it was not a good start to 2016”, with 68 fatalities, up by 13 so far this year.
He said the rise was all the more reason to publicise both the new zones and the National Slow Down Day.
He said there were around 50 GoSafe vans rostered to serve the safety zones, with eight additional Garda vans.
“We estimate over 20 lives are saved each year since the introduction of safety cameras since 2010,” said Sgt Cloughley.
He said that while 31% of fatal collisions took place in the zones prior to their introduction in 2010, 14% occurred there.
Of the 355 new zones, 54% are on regional roads, 32% on national roads, and 7% on both local roads and motorways.
“The safety cameras only operate in areas which have a speed related collision history where fatal, serious injury and now minor injury collisions occur,” said Chief Supt Reid.
“By identifying and targeting these high-risk areas, our aim is to continue to reduce the number and severity of collisions, thus save more lives and prevent more injuries from occurring.”
He said while the camera system operated at a “financial loss” the human savings were “incalculable”.
The GoSafe system costs the State €15m-€16m yearly on average and the revenue is about €7m.
Research by Trinity College academic Derek Rafferty estimated that saved lives from the cameras generated a benefit of €70m each year.
Full details on zones: www.garda.ie/Controller.aspx?
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