More than 350 new speed camera locations will become operational in Ireland from midnight on 27 May following analysis of collision data and a study looking at the cost/benefits of cameras.
Described by An Garda Síochána (Ireland’s national police service) as ‘proven life savers’, the new additions will take the total number of camera locations on roads across Ireland to in excess of 1,000.
An Garda Síochána says prior to the introduction of cameras, approximately 31% of fatal collisions occurred in ‘speed enforcement zones’ where cameras are deployed. In 2015 this figure had reduced to 14%, which, according to An Garda Síochána, represents a ‘dramatic reduction in terms of risk…and a huge increase in terms of road safety’.
Analysis of collision data has identified new speed enforcement zones as well as zones which are no longer deemed high risk.
The data, for the five-year period April 2009 to April 2014, included type of collision (fatal, and serious as before, but now including minor) and the coordinates of where each of these incidents took place (approximately 25,000 data points).
Each type of collision (fatal, serious, and minor) was assigned a weighted value. A fatal collision was given a value of 10, a serious collision a value of five and a minor collision a value of one. Cameras are only deployed on stretches of road with a minimum weighted value of 10.
As a result of the analysis, 49 zones were identified for camera removal while 355 new sites were identified.
Of the new locations, 54% are on regional roads, 32% on national roads, 7% on motorways and 7% on local roads. All camera locations are available on the Garda website.
The cost-benefit analysis, carried out by Trinity College Dublin, found that since 2011 cameras have prevented 71 deaths on Ireland’s roads.
The study found that fine income generated by cameras covers less than half of the system’s overall operating costs, while the benefits of safety cameras outweigh their costs by more than five to one. The study conclude that ‘safety cameras are clearly and unambiguously a cost-effective road safety measure’.
Chief superintendent Aidan Reid said: “An Garda Síochána is delighted to announce the expansion of this vital road safety measure. The safety cameras are proven life savers and only operate in areas which have a speed related collision history where fatal, serious injury and now minor injury collisions occur.
“By identifying and targeting these high risk areas our aim is to continue to reduce the number and severity of collisions, thus saving more lives and preventing more injuries. This makes them roads safer for every road user.
“There is no doubt these safety cameras save lives. This has been independently confirmed. They actually operate at a financial loss, but the human savings are incalculable.
“Saving lives and preventing injuries is our number one goal and we urge every driver to become familiar with the full list of speed enforcement zones, freely available on the Garda website, so that they know to take extra care when travelling on these 1,000 plus stretches of high risk road.”