State plan sees local governments use own resources to set up speed cameras

The Ministry of the Interior hopes to involve local municipality governments in improving the network of speed cameras, promising them half of the issued fine money going forward on the condition that cameras would be acquired using the local governments' own resources.

The Ministry of the Interior has initiated a draft law that would leave speed cameras to be bought and managed by the local municipality government they are set up in, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Wednesday.

Henry Timberg, head of the ministry's law enforcement and criminal policy department, said the goal is to involve local governments in traffic law enforcement more. "It would amplify that this is not just a one time thing," he said.

The ministry also sees speeding fines becoming loftier. Currently, the fine considers €3 for each exceeded km/h, the new rate would set that number at €5. For example, a 10 km/h speeding fine would cost €50, instead of the current €30.

The municipality government for Pärnu, the largest in size, finds that stationary cameras set up in cities are likely to be figured out as locals would learn quickly of where the cameras are set up.

Mayor of Pärnu Romek Kosenkranius said: "It is reasonable that the police would acquire their facilities themselves. If there are truly critical locations in traffic, it is then reasonable to conduct surveillance with mobile measures."

The data would still be collected by the Road Administration (Maanteeamet) and the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) would issue fines and the police would still have to operate the mobile cameras.

Many other municipalities are of the same mind as Pärnu but the capital city of Tallinn as the only municipality to install its own cameras is more enthusiastic.

Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Andrei Novikov noted that this amendment would bring forth an increase in the number of speed cameras in all municipalities. "It is not at all a bad thing because the locations are chosen on the logic of where the largest number of violations are recorded and it would certainly ensure safety," he said.

Tallinn's arising eagerness could refer to a temptation of making more, as muncipalities are promised half of the issued fines. The interior ministry however emphasizes that each proposal is analyzed in detail.

Timberg confirmed: "The PPA and Road Administration are participating in the decision of where a camera is placed. The local municipality government should show initiative of wanting to contribute in safety - traffic safety. But the decision of where the camera is best placed and most useful will be made with the Police and Border Guard Board, meaning the state helps decide and identify where the most use is, not where the most money comes from."

TalTech professor: Speeding is an issue in cities and needs to be dealt with

Road safety professor Dago Antov said before cameras are placed in cities, an assessment should be conducted into how legislation could be used to improve the situation.

Antov said: "We know speed is a problem. And it is not a problem on highways, we are used to speed cameras there. But we can not say that speeding is not a problem in cities. Currently, cities have been left out of the discussion."

He acknowledged that while the PPA occasionaly conducts speeding surveillance, mass checks are not done.

Antov noted that the draft law could certainly improve the situation: "I dare say that speed cameras are not wrong in principle, if certain dangers are avoided."

He continued: "The smartest solution when it comes to speed cameras is one that gives the cities no money at all and everyone would act lawfully. That is best helped by technical solutions, where drivers would not even be interested in speeding. But that is expensive and would take time and we have not looked into it much."

The road safety expert concluded that a camera should not be the only measure to calm traffic. He noted that the local traffic culture should be looked at and assessed prior to setting up cameras, allowing for changes to be made in traffic organization.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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