A total of nearly 240,000 speeding violations were recorded in Estonia in 2020 with mobile speed cameras being the most efficient way to identify speeding, data from the police shows.
Last year, nearly 240,000 speeding violations were recorded on Estonian roads, more than 195,000 were identified by speed cameras.
There are a total of eight mobile cameras taking pictures on Estonian roadsides. Last year, the automatic speed cameras brought in over €4 million in revenue to the state budget.
In Saare County, there is only one mobile camera and it recorded 3,000 speeding violations in 2020. Compared to the number of speeding violations identified by police patrols, the differences are remarkable.
Police patrols conduct traffic surveillance in Saaremaa and while the number of violations identified is dwarfed by that of automatic cameras, the work of patrols is still considered justified.
"No, we certainly cannot say it is useless work. We do not hide in our bus, the vehicle is in clear site. A large part of measuring speeds is exactly about prevention. Even if the driver sees from an app that there is police or has read from somewhere that there is police, they will slow down a bit - that is already prevention," said Kuressaare department patrol officer Sander Armus.
But there is one more important distinction between cameras and patrols. "Police officers all have the right of discretion and will not always punish someone. It is also very efficient when we stop the person and have a conversation with them, if their speeding violation is smaller," Armus said.
A camera is ruthless in comparison. "It is completely automated, there is no choice for a police officer. Everything that comes through the camera and all who have exceeded the speed limit, will all go to proceeding," said Matis Sikk, head of patrols at the Kuressaare department.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste