Road Safety News

New speed camera locations to become operational in Ireland

Thursday 26th May 2016

More than 350 new speed camera locations will become operational in Ireland from midnight on 27 May following analysis of collision data and a study looking at the cost/benefits of cameras.

Described by An Garda Síochána (Ireland's national police service) as ‘proven life savers’, the new additions will take the total number of camera locations on roads across Ireland to in excess of 1,000.

An Garda Síochána says prior to the introduction of cameras, approximately 31% of fatal collisions occurred in ‘speed enforcement zones’ where cameras are deployed. In 2015 this figure had reduced to 14%, which, according to An Garda Síochána, represents a ‘dramatic reduction in terms of risk...and a huge increase in terms of road safety’.

Analysis of collision data has identified new speed enforcement zones as well as zones which are no longer deemed high risk.

The data, for the five-year period April 2009 to April 2014, included type of collision (fatal, and serious as before, but now including minor) and the coordinates of where each of these incidents took place (approximately 25,000 data points).

Each type of collision (fatal, serious, and minor) was assigned a weighted value. A fatal collision was given a value of 10, a serious collision a value of five and a minor collision a value of one. Cameras are only deployed on stretches of road with a minimum weighted value of 10.

As a result of the analysis, 49 zones were identified for camera removal while 355 new sites were identified.

Of the new locations, 54% are on regional roads, 32% on national roads, 7% on motorways and 7% on local roads. All camera locations are available on the Garda website.

The cost-benefit analysis, carried out by Trinity College Dublin, found that since 2011 cameras have prevented 71 deaths on Ireland’s roads.

The study found that fine income generated by cameras covers less than half of the system’s overall operating costs, while the benefits of safety cameras outweigh their costs by more than five to one. The study conclude that ‘safety cameras are clearly and unambiguously a cost-effective road safety measure’.

Chief superintendent Aidan Reid said: “An Garda Síochána is delighted to announce the expansion of this vital road safety measure. The safety cameras are proven life savers and only operate in areas which have a speed related collision history where fatal, serious injury and now minor injury collisions occur.

“By identifying and targeting these high risk areas our aim is to continue to reduce the number and severity of collisions, thus saving more lives and preventing more injuries. This makes them roads safer for every road user.

“There is no doubt these safety cameras save lives. This has been independently confirmed. They actually operate at a financial loss, but the human savings are incalculable.

“Saving lives and preventing injuries is our number one goal and we urge every driver to become familiar with the full list of speed enforcement zones, freely available on the Garda website, so that they know to take extra care when travelling on these 1,000 plus stretches of high risk road.”



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Idris Francis (without the need for any statistical tools to estimate RTTM) has shown there is no effect in KSI reduction from speed cameras - and his research is imminently more robust than that of others because it directly compares numbers of crashes at sites with cameras versus those without.
John Lambert, Victoria Australia

Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

Yes, of course Jeremy. The report states: (p48) "A number of key assumptions were made" and the 4th of these is: "Using data for a period of six-years before ... eliminates or severely dilutes any possible regression to mean (RTM) effects".

The first problem is that their assumption will only be even partially true if the SSP (Site Selection Period) was less than six-years. If the SSP was around 5 or 6 years (as was the case with many camera sites), then little or no RTM effect might have been removed.

The second problem is that, even if the SSP was around 3 years (as could have been the case), their assumption might only be expected to remove around 50% of the RTM effect, at best.

In short, the final results probably contain significant levels of RTM and therefore the report does not provide any real evidence that the speed cameras have saved any lives, or prevented any serious injuries.

The report actually states (p17):"a randomised controlled trial (RCT) offers the highest level of evidence". Despite the RCT being rejected by (pii) "the private company GoSafe" on this occasion, I still believe that an evidence-led approach will eventually be used in road safety.
Dave Finney, Slough

Agree (3) | Disagree (3)

Dave said earlier in this discussion "The results they publish are not the effects of the speed cameras because there are many other factors at play. In particular, there are the effects of site selection (or RTM)."

This study controlled for RTM so I'm not entirely sure where this assertion came from. Dave, can you elaborate? Do you have any particular issues with this specific study's methodology? Thanks.
Jeremy, Devon

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)

Rod, if there is anything which I have written and which you think needs backing up with a reference, please ask.
Charles, England

Agree (3) | Disagree (3)

I'm sure many people are caught speeding by speed cameras because of poor observation, in-attention, distraction. What no one knows is how many people speed where they think they are unlikely to find a mobile or fixed speed camera and then proceed within the legal speed limit where they expect cameras may be situated. And keep on doing this for years because (a) they are vigilant when speeding and (b) by and large it works for them.
Guzzi, Newport

Agree (9) | Disagree (0)

I have seen many of your comments and cannot ever recall seeing a reference to back up your claims.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (6) | Disagree (3)

It is interesting that the Irish think that, unlike the London cameras apparently, theirs will reduce KSIs. I sincerely hope that they are correct, and not being misled by yet another flawed interpretation of statistics.
Charles, England

Agree (9) | Disagree (5)

If 'many people are more vigilant' when breaking the law, how come they still get caught by the highly visible cameras, which are themselves preceded by advanced warning signs or even by the police? Poor observation possibly? I'm sure Pat wasn't excusing or defending the deliberate behaviour of some speeders, anymore than I was.
Hugh Jones

Agree (7) | Disagree (6)

Many people speed as a result of intentional non-compliance. That is in no way a sign of poor observation and a lack of concentration. In many instances the exact opposite actually as many people are more vigilant when choosing to break the law.
Pat, Wales

Agree (11) | Disagree (2)

I agree with Steve, as would most, that good observation and concentration are as important however, non-compliance with speed limits is a sign of poor observation and a lack of concentration anyway so, far from being overlooked, these are also being addressed through speed limit enforcement.
Hugh Jones

Agree (12) | Disagree (7)

The scientific method is a way to ask and answer scientific questions by making observations and doing experiments. The steps of the scientific method are to: Ask a Question. Do Background Research. Construct a Hypothesis. Test and try to disprove the Hypothesis.

Draconian law enforcement has nothing to do with the science behind those laws, which for the most part is non existent and has been proven to be counter productive in so many ways and rarely achieves the desired goals.

If it was proven just as safe to do 100mph on a motorway as 70mph through a scientific study (unlikely but just as an example) I doubt very much that today's laws would be changed due to policy dogma meaning speeds can only be reduced regardless of merit.

Further if every driver had a black box in their car with automatic GPS speed recognition and penalty issued for any infringement however small I doubt it would improve casualty figures more than the amount it would statistically lower anyway from banning >99% of all drivers which would be the result of such a policy. Speed is easy to measure and prosecute but far less important to road safety than good observation and concentration which in today's camera frenzy is just overlooked hence casualty figures rising.
Steve Armstrong, Halifax UK.

Agree (11) | Disagree (10)


It's already "scientific". Exceed the speed limit "scientifically" and your nicked. There's nothing unscientific about that. Exceeding the speed limit is a strict liability offence.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us, Cheshire

Agree (12) | Disagree (8)

It's a shame that An Garda Síochána did not run their previous speed cameras within scientific trials, and that they aren't running their new speed cameras within such trials either. The results they publish are not the effects of the speed cameras because there are many other factors at play. In particular, there are the effects of site selection (or RTM).

In every study where site-selection effects have been completely excluded that I am aware of, the speed cameras were found to have either not saved lives or contributed to more deaths overall. Determining the true effects of speed cameras is simple, just run them within scientific trials. These trials are easy to run, they are the most accurate test and they can be cheaper than producing estimates. Surely it is time we started using an evidence-led approach?
Dave Finney, Slough

Agree (9) | Disagree (14)

Forget the data and having to apologise for enforcing the law, disguise the vans, don't advertise the locations (just sign them with "Concealed speed cameras on this route") and put them where a significant number of speeding offences are regularly committed.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (11) | Disagree (7)