Private speed camera monitoring to increase

An Garda is raising the number of hours of speed detection contracted out

Ready to go: One of the privately owned speed cameras deployed by Go Safe. The Garda has increased the consortium’s speed enforcement hours, while the revenues generated by the firm’s speeding enforcement have declined. Photograph: Frank Miller

Ready to go: One of the privately owned speed cameras deployed by Go Safe. The Garda has increased the consortium’s speed enforcement hours, while the revenues generated by the firm’s speeding enforcement have declined. Photograph: Frank Miller

Wed, Oct 30, 2013, 06:00

An Garda has approved a significant increase in the amount of speeding enforcement carried out by a private firm.

The number of hours per month monitored by speed camera vans provided by the Go Safe consortium has increased from 6,000 to 6,725 after 243 new enforcement zones were added to the 518 the firm was already working on.

It has also emerged that the revenues generated by the firm’s speeding enforcement are far lower than had been forecast.

When the Government went to tender for an operator, a report from consultants and an expert working group estimated that the annual revenue from speeding fines could be between €70 million and €40 million per annum.

This was subsequently revised down to €27 million. However, last year Go Safe generated just €4.6 million in receipts from speeding fines. The cost of operating the system is €15.6 million per annum.

According to the Comptroller and Auditor General, this created a “shortfall” of €11 million which was financed by revenues from fines for road traffic offences identified by gardaí.

Under the contract, Go Safe is paid a fixed fee per hour of enforcement, meaning it does not matter how many or how few motorists it catches.

An Garda, which decides on which roads should be designated as speed-enforcement zones, is expected to add more than 300 sites to in excess of 700 already being patrolled by Go Safe by the end of the year.

The number of motorists detected speeding by Go Safe cameras has fallen dramatically since their full introduction in January 2011. Over 70,000 were detected in the first six months and this dropped to just over 30,000 in the final six months of the year.

The Comptroller and Auditor General notes that detection by An Garda using handheld speed cameras or Garda speed vans remained broadly unchanged over the period.


Change in behaviour
This appears to suggest that while motorists are aware of and responding to speeding enforcement in the areas monitored by privatised cameras, there has not as yet been a significant change in driver behaviour.

Under its five-year contract, Go Safe is required to provide a maximum of 7,475 hours of speeding enforcement and speed surveys each month. Go Safe uses speed surveys to determine the effectiveness of speed enforcement in its zones and also to identify new zones for speeding enforcement.