The number of locations where speed cameras are used is to set to expand by 40% as gardaí report a large drop in fatal collisions in areas where they already operate.
An extra 243 stretches of road are to be added to the current network where speed cameras can be used by the end of this month, bringing the overall total to 727 locations.
Sections covered by the GoSafe speed cameras will now account for around 2.5% of the entire road network of 96,000km.
According to official records, 48% of all fatal collisions between 2006 and 2012 occurred on these sections. Safety cameras only operate on sections of road which have a history of collisions where speed was a contributory factor.
Some 34 locations have been removed from the list following a review of collision statistics over the past few years. However, they will continue to be monitored by gardaí for speeding offences.
Gardaí said yesterday there had been “a dramatic and sustained” improvement in compliance with speed limits since the introduction of the cameras in Nov 2010.
At present “GoSafe” cameras, which are operated by a private contractor, carry out a minimum of 6,000 hours of speed enforcement per month using a fleet of 50 vans with gardaí carrying out additional monitoring of speeding motorists.
On average, less than one speeding motorist was caught per hour of enforcement in 2013 compared to more than three per hour back in early 2011.
Assistant commissioner Gerard Philips said the declining rate of detections demonstrated that speed cameras were not being used as a revenue-generating mechanism.
Over the past two years compliance rates for 50km/h speed limits zones have risen from 62% to 93% and from 78% to 91% in 60km/h zones. In 80km/h zones, compliance has increased from 89% to 97% and in 100km/h zones from 96% to 99%.
Mr Philips said the proportion of fatal collisions occurring in GoSafe zones had fallen from 30% during the mid-2000s to 17% last year. The reduction equates to 20 fewer fatal collisions in 2012. He said 60% of the new speed enforcement zones would be on regional and local roads, with 40% on national primary and secondary routes.
Gardaí said more than 408,000 fixed-charge notices carrying an €80 penalty had been issued between Nov 1, 2010, and Dec 31, 2012, as a result of detections by GoSafe and gardaí.
Mr Philips praised the positive change in driver behaviour with regard to speeding but stressed the need for continuing high visibility enforcement.
He pointed out that 43 people have been killed on Irish roads so far in 2013 — 15 more than in the corresponding period last year.
Signs indicating where speed cameras zones operate are currently being erected across the country. While GoSafe cameras won’t begin monitoring until they are in place, such roads will be subject to speeding enforcement by gardaí.
Locations of all roads where speed cameras operate with information on collision rates are available on the Garda website.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved