Average speed limit cameras not in traffic safety program until 2023

Speed limit camera.
Speed limit camera. Source: Road Administration

In addition to speed limit cameras already in place, some countries in Europe have tested measuring the average speed of vehicles between two cameras for speed limit enforcement. The project has been considered in Estonia but will not be in force for the next three years due to data protection restrictions and a lack of financial resources.

Martin Lengi, Director of Strategic Planning for the Road Administration, acknowledged that the use of a system measuring average speeds could help decrease speeding on Estonian roads and therefore increase traffic safety.

Lengi told ERR that the Road Administration's traffic safety program was reassessed in January 2019 with possible actions to increase traffic safety proposed and added to the program.

Lengi said: "We also proposed measuring average speeds but that was not supported by the Traffic Commission, which is why we did not add it to the program for 2020-2023."

He added that the Commission rejected the proposal for two reasons. Firstly, photos of all vehicles and drivers passing the cameras would have to be captured, even those who did not exceed any speed limits, making it difficult to navigate data protection laws and restrictions.

Raavo Palu, Director of Legal Affairs of the Data Protection Institute, agreed with Lengi, saying that it would be unnecessary to take pictures of every vehicle passing a speed camera. He added that sufficient justifications would have to be made in order allow for photos to be taken of each driver.

The second reason the action was not permitted is a lack of financial resources. The development and activation of a system to measure average speeds would cost €1 million and the maintenance of one camera would cost an additional €6,000 yearly.

Lengi said: "If we compare it to the achievable effect that we have evaluated, we would save around two lives every three years by covering 100 km of roads. Putting that into perspective and looking at the cost-benefit ratio, it is borderline."


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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