The Union of Harju County Municipalities (HOL) states that for local municipality governments to be more motivated to acquire their own speed cameras, the state should reimburse the cost of cameras or allocate part of the issued fines to the local municipality.
As part of the Ministry of the Interior's draft law presented in October, speed cameras would be left to be acquired and managed by the local municipality government they are set up in.
HOL says that many Harju County cities and municipalities are prepared to acquire and install speed cameras to cut down speeding on the region's roads. But as cameras are expensive for municipalities, the union wants the state to reimburse the purchase of cameras or set a rate on the issued speeding fines, allocating part of the fines to the municipality's budget.
As only laser technology is allowed to be used for speed cameras, the cameras are too expensive for a local municipality government to comfortably shell out enough to acquire them. The union also wants the option of acquiring automatic speedometers based on radar technology.
In addition, HOL would also like to use stationary meters instead of the relocatable mobile cameras. But even for those, the local municipalities would need state support.
HOL wants cameras to measure average speeds
According to the union of Harju municipalities, the addition of cameras measuring average speed of vehicles between two points should also be reconsidered.
"As far as we know, the install of automatic speedometers in Estonia has not happened because of personal data considerations. At the same time, measuring the average speed of vehicles is in accordance with a general regulation apporved by the European Parliament on April 14 2016 and measuring average speeds is implemented in many European Union countries. Therefore, the implementation of average speed cameras is just a matter of amending existing legislation in Estonia," HOL noted in a letter to the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior.
According to HOL, a decrease in the amount of speeding cases and improvements in traffic safety as a result of extending the surveillance of speeding weighs up any personal data considerations in terms of drivers or vehicles.
Municipalities have agreed to acquire the cameras necessary to measure average speeds themselves if the state compensates for the acquiration or designates part of the speeding fines to the local municipality the fine has been issued in, HOL noted in their letter.
Road Administration: The law is being amended
According to the Road Administration, current legislation does not allow for local municipality governments to cash out on speeding fines.
For example, Tallinn installed three speed cameras on the Russalka intersection on Reidi tee in October that have taken pictures of traffic violations, but have not transferred the data to the state, which has led to a situation where fines have not been issued out.
For speeding to be a finable offense on Reidi tee, the city has to give control of the cameras to the Road Administration, but the transfer has taken a long time.
Tallinn's communications bureau told ERR that the city has submitted a request to the Road Administration, so that the administration would take over the speed cameras on Reidi tee, but the solution could turn out completely different.
"The Road Administration said they are aware of amendments to laws that would allow for speed cameras to be used without handing them over to the Road Administration - by involving local municipality governments in traffic surveillance," city spokesperson Karel Kranich said.
At the same time, the Reidi tee cameras are operational and fixate on speeding violations. There were 5,504 violations during November, the most egregious of them a speed of 60 km/h.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste