Plans to privatise speed cameras unveiled


The Government has released details of its plans to privatise the operation of speed cameras.

Minister for Transport Martin Cullen and Minister for Justice Michael McDowell issued a joint statement today in which they laid out the Government's plans to have speed cameras operated by private companies in a bid to cut the number of deaths and injuries on the road.

The plans were approved last week by the Cabinet after consultation with the Working Group on the use of speed cameras.

This groups, chaired by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and made up of representatives of the Department of Transport, the Garda Síochána and the National Roads Authority, recommended using private sector companies to run the cameras to increase compliance with speed limits and to reduce speeds at locations with a history of frequent accidents.

Up to 600 cameras will be located throughout the country. Some of these will be high-visibility deterrents, while others will be hidden from sight.

The Government insists the priority for the cameras will be accident prevention rather than revenue generation.

Mr Cullen said the decision to privatise the operation of speed cameras was a key part of the Government's 2004-2006 Road Safety Strategy.

"In proceeding to legislation for privatised speed cameras, our objectives are clear. If we are to save lives and reduce injuries, speed cameras must be located at accident blackspots and overall operational responsibility must rest with the Gardaí."

The report also recommended that there should be more speed checks at weekends than on weekdays and more checks between midnight and 3.00am than at other times.

Around half of speed checks will be carried out on national and non-national roads, with less than three per cent on motorways and dual carriageways.

"As well as making a significant contribution to road safety, this initiative will release Garda resources to concentrate their enforcement efforts on other motoring offences which cause death and destruction on our roads such as drink driving," said Mr McDowell.