Driving on Irish roads can be an exciting experience with stunning landscapes and unique terrain. However, speeding remains one of the leading causes of accidents on Irish roads, posing a significant risk to drivers, passengers, and other road users.
To tackle this issue, the Irish government has implemented various speed management measures, including testing average speed cameras. These cameras have become increasingly common in Europe. While some drivers may feel frustrated or inconvenienced by them, their use has been proven to reduce speeding and improve road safety.
This post will explore average speed cameras in Ireland, how they work, and their impact on road safety.
What’s an average speed camera?
You may have heard about this new speed camera but are unsure what it is. In Ireland, we now use fixed-speed cameras. These capture a vehicle’s speed at a fixed point on the road. The difference with average speed cameras is that they track a vehicle’s speed over a set distance.
The average speed cameras installed on the M7 monitor a driver’s average speed driving between Junction 26 and Junction 27, which is a 9km stretch. You will be penalised if you go above the motorway speed limit of 120km/h. You will be liable to an €80 fine and three penalty points.
Reactions to Average Speed Cameras
Many drivers criticised them as they feel they are monitoring citizens too closely. They think there should be steps to prevent speeding rather than punish people for it. It is hoped that these average-speed cameras will change drivers’ behaviour on the road.
After a pilot year of the average speed cameras, compliance with the speed limit increased from 70% to just shy of 90%, which shows it has affected drivers’ behaviour toward the speed limit.
The average speed cameras are already in use on the Dublin Port Tunnel. They were highly effective in the tunnel, where only less than 1% of drivers exceeded the speed limit, down from 55% before installation, which shows a dramatic drop.
How do Average Speed Cameras Work?
They use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to read the number plate of every vehicle which passes the camera’s field of view. It then creates a time, date and location file for every vehicle. When a vehicle reaches the next camera too quickly, the number plate will be flagged that a violation has occurred. They are then processed back in an office.
It is challenging to “trick” an average-speed camera. They are seen as an effective tool for reducing journey time as there’s no disruption of traffic flow.
The installation of average speed cameras has decreased travel times due to a more disciplined traffic flow. The positive sides of this are that it will reduce fuel burned and decrease noise pollution along the roads that they are installed. There is currently no word on any more prospective sites for the cameras.
Other Speed Cameras
There are a variety of speed cameras used by law enforcement to clamp down on speeding. They include the following:
TruCAM II laser guns
These are the laser guns you will see Gardaí using when they are parked on the side of the road. They can see speeding cars from a distance of up to 1.2km away. The upside of these cameras is that they can spot a speeding driver before the driver can even see the Garda making it hard to avoid if you’re speeding.
Puma speed detection equipment
The benefit of Puma speed detection vehicles is that they cannot only see if you’re speeding, but they can also detect uninsured or untaxed drivers and other motor offences such as using a phone.
The equipment used by Gardaí is connected to a real-time database which provides information on vehicles, such as insurance, tax or if it’s stolen. It takes, on average, 6 seconds to scan a license plate.
We always recommend drivers stick to the speed limit of every road they drive on. If you speed, you risk the chance of getting in an accident, and it could prove fatal to an innocent car, pedestrian or cyclist. These speed cameras are here to save lives.
If you are caught speeding, you will get penalty points, and your insurance premium may increase as you are now at a higher risk of getting in an accident than someone without penalty points.