This month, Ireland welcomes private mobile speed cameras to it’s roads. Taken from garda.ie, “Safety cameras will be in operation from mid November 2010 at locations across Irish roads.”…
‘Speed’ or ‘Safety’?
One thing you may notice is that the gardai & government will refer to them as safety cameras, the general public call them ‘speed’ cameras. Here is the major problem. Different attitudes. Speed cameras are ‘out to get you’ if you’re a member of the public, but they ‘save lives’ if you’re in the gardai or RSA (Road Safety Authority) camp.
Both are valid points in my mind… for example, let’s say you’re in a 100km/hr zone which drops to 60km/hr (quite common entering towns). We’re poor at obeying those kind of sudden drops in speed in my own experience, that’s where the average driver will tend to get caught out by speed cameras.
Obviously most people won’t simply ‘ignore’ the lower limit, but at the same time most people won’t brake all the way down to 60km/hr. Depending on the road, that may be far too slow. ‘Slow’ of course might be the legal limit but if the vast majority of traffic are exceeding the limit in a certain area you have to question why… perhaps there could be more creative ways to slow people down than speed cameras… more signage, markings on roads, rumble strips when entering a new speed zone etc…
There’s no doubt about it, these new mobile cameras are going to punish a lot of ‘good’ drivers who don’t drive recklessly or speed excessively, they may just have got nabbed being slightly over the limit and unaware of the new cameras. So i sympathise with them and can see why a lot of people think the cameras are out to get them and are just a revenue generating scheme for the government.
On the flip side, the government can rightly say the cameras simply enforce existing law, therefore cleaning up our driving habits, possibly saving lives too. At the minute, they say all the ‘speed enforcement zones’ will be clearly signposted and the general locations of mobile vans made known (location list is here).
Reports are coming in that these new vans are already out there, tucked away in places that aren’t listed on the garda website. Whether they’re in operational mode or not is another question (remember we’ve been told they’ll be in operation by ‘mid-november’) so it’s perhaps a bit early yet but be warned, there’s a whole pile of new vans out there recording your every move.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all if plenty of people end up losing their licences before they get the first speeding notifcation through the door. Think about it. Get caught 6 times and you’re finished. Realistically, for most people, that’s 3 days to and from work. Depending how lenient or sneaky these guys are and how fast notifications are sent out, people could well find themselves with multiple fines and points building up without knowing it.
Prepare for a new wave of gardai / speed camera bashing monster online… anything new on our roads never works the way it should. Whether it’s new laws, new technology, tolls, traffic management… it always brings with it confusion, frustration and anger due to lack of preparation and communication by both road users & the Road Safety Authority / Gardai.
According to a recent survey by the AA, over 45% of drivers are ‘not very aware’ or ‘not aware at all’ about these new private cameras… so if half of the driving population doesn’t know about these cameras, they’re gonna be pretty angry once they start getting fines & points through the door from a private company.