Authority mulls enhancing road safety via upgraded speed camera system

A mobile speed camera (photo is illustrative).
A mobile speed camera (photo is illustrative). Source: ERR

The Transport Board (Transpordiamet) has recommended the introduction nationwide of automatic checks on vehicle speeds calculated via two cameras, at the start and beginning of the section of road in question.

The agency hopes that the change will contribute positively to a goal for no more than 40 road traffic accident fatalities in the period 2023-2025, and no more than 330 serious injuries over the same time frame.

Statistics from Lithuania reveal that the introduction of automated speed camera zones led to a fall in overall average speeds of as much as 7.3 km/h and a 60-percent fall in road fatalities.

So far this year, 28 people have lost their lives in road traffic accidents in Estonia.

Maria Pashkevich, mobility and traffic safety analyst at the Transport Board, told ERR.

Pashkevich explained how the system would work.

She told ERR that: "If an average speed is recorded at higher than that speed camera's intervention threshold, then this speeding information is recorded and forwarded to the Police and Border Guard Board for processing."

"Data concerning those vehicles which do not exceed the speed limit will be automatically deleted," she added.

"Impact analysis from the average speed checks on a road section demonstrate that it implementation cuts the number of road accidents by 30 percent, and the number of road accidents with accompanying fatalities and/or serious injuries by 56 percent," she went on.

"The number of road accidents involving vehicle or property damage fell by an average of 21.6 percent," Pashkevich added.

Such measures in Estonia have been discussed among experts since 2018, while the relevant tech has become better, and more cost-effective, in the meantime.

The average speed measurement system differs from individual speed cameras as cameras are installed in two locations on the road section, and record the vehicle registration numbers, calculating average speed between the two points.

This cuts out the phenomenon of drivers simply slowing down when approaching a speed camera then speeding up again once past it.

Dual-carriageways may require more cameras, to cover all lanes.

As noted, Lithuania, which has several major highways, has made use of the system for several years, while Latvia is installing them across 16 sections of road through the course of this year, ERR reports.

The implementation in Estonia may take several years, however, with the board mentioning 2024-2025 as a realistic time-frame.

It is also not clear the extent to which the proposed new system would be able to co-exist with the current cameras and tech.

In Latvia, 10 sections of 130km total length has cost the state around €700,000, Pashkevich added, while one section in Lithuania costs around €46,000.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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