Speed Camera Roulette: Stats Revealed ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Those going at least 96 kph past one of the cyborg-like camera installations on the Tartu-Tallinn and Tallinn-Pärnu highways have about a two in three chance of having their license plate caught on camera.

Twenty-seven of the 40 man-size boxes have a camera inside, said Villu Vane, an adviser with the Road Administration, which, he said, is the way it should be.

"A primary reason is that the camera is much more expensive than the installation," he told ERR radio.

But Vane said the practice is an internationally accepted one, and the cameras - although they do result in mailed fine notices - function mainly as traffic calmers, as there is no way for drivers to know whether the red flash bulb will burst or not until they are passing the box.

The cameras were generally installed in areas considered dangerous, where there have been serious accidents in the past. Statistics collected periodically have indicated that they have cut fatalities to nil in the immediate vicinity. But critics have also pointed up a tendency for drivers, once they are past the possible camera, to drive faster than they were going, in an effort to keep their total travel time the same. 

Vane said today on ERR radio that Information on which of the sites have active cameras is shared on various forums, resulting in a need to swap out the contents of boxes more frequently, at least several times a month.

Ten new installations will soon be added to roads in the greater Tallinn area, he said, and some of the cameras may end up being moved from the Tallinn area from Ida-Viru county in the northeast.

"There are currently 10 boxes and 10 cameras along the Narva highway, but the number could just as well be eight cameras," Vane said.

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