Introduction of ‘average speed detection’ system on M7 delayed

Cameras installed nine months ago, but tests and calibration to continue into March

Crash on the M7: a section   between junctions 26 and 27 is a known speeding blackspot according to the Garda and road authorities. Photograph:  Eamonn Farrell/ Photocall Ireland

Crash on the M7: a section between junctions 26 and 27 is a known speeding blackspot according to the Garda and road authorities. Photograph: Eamonn Farrell/ Photocall Ireland

Your Web Browser may be out of date. If you are using Internet Explorer 9, 10 or 11 our Audio player will not work properly.
For a better experience use Google Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

 

The planned introduction of an average speed detection system on part of the M7 motorway has been delayed by up to a year due to the need to calibrate and test it.

Average speed detection systems note the time a vehicle passes first one and then a second point along a motorway. This allows the system to produce an average speed of travel.

For example, if Point A and Point B are set 120km apart, the vehicle can only legally cover that distance in one hour, travelling at the maximum speed of 120km per hour. If a motorist takes less than one hour to travel the distance, then they would be liable for a fine and up to six penalty points.

The system is designed to detect motorists who break the speed limit but avoid getting caught by slowing down as they pass single-point speed cameras.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the Garda jointly announced an average speed detection system for part of the M7 in March 2021.

The section of the M7 in Co Tipperary between Junction 26 Nenagh West and Junction 27 Birdhill is a known speeding blackspot according to the Garda and road authorities.*

Last March, the Garda and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) installed cameras for an average speed detection system to be introduced from Nenagh West to Birdhill on the M7.

The Garda Facebook page showed the system being installed in March 2021.

However, 10 months later the Garda said the system was not as yet operational in terms of being used for prosecuting speeding motorists.

A spokesman for TII said the reason was the need to calibrate and provide certification for the accuracy of the system.

Legal challenge

The spokesman said the possibility of a legal challenge to the evidence of such equipment was always distinct and real, given the history of challenges to speed detection equipment in the past.

The TII spokesman said it was expected the first prosecutions arising from the average speed detection system would begin to be seen in the first quarter of 2022.

In 2020, there were a total of 357 speeding detections made in the vicinity of Junction 26 and Junction 27. TII said this type of driver behaviour was very dangerous, and was compounded during rain or hail showers, increasing the potential of serious accidents. Junction 26 to 27 are in an area noted for sudden and severe showers of hail.

TII said it had analysed speed data on the M7 corridor since 2017 and identified speeding as a significant issue with some 40 per cent of drivers exceeding the 120km/h speed limit on certain sections.

An average speed detection system was successfully introduced in the Dublin Tunnel to combat speeding in 2017.

*Article was updated at 4.30pm on January 5th, 2022