Fewer caught in speed traps

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Fewer speedsters are being snared by the automatic traffic control (ATC) cameras that line Norwegian roads. Debate continues over whether to remove the cameras or to use all the technology that is available in order to monitor drivers more closely.

The future is unclear for traffic cameras like this one between Molde and Bud in western Norway. PHOTO: Knut Opeide/Statens Vegvesen

Increasing numbers of motorists have bought GPS navigation systems that now are usually able to warn against approaching fixed-location speed cameras. The number of ATC cameras also has decreased along with the fines that they generate.

“From a maximum of around 390, some 360 remain,” Finn-Harald Amundsen told newspaper Aftenposten on Thursday. Amundsen heads the traffic safety department at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens Vegvesen).

One of the reasons for the decline is that several stretches of old road have been replaced by motorway not covered by ATC monitoring.

The figures, which suggest that fewer drivers are speeding, include results from three recently installed dual camera systems. These calculate the average speed between two cameras.

The dual camera systems, however, are controversial because they store information about all motorists, including those who have not broken the speed limit. The Norwegian Data Inspectorate (Datatilsynet) objects strongly, so while 40 such speed traps were under consideration, the new figure is uncertain. So is the question of whether the existing average speed ATCs will be kept on.

Very few motorists are caught by these traps.  According to figures gathered from the police by news website Nettavisen, 4,440 out of a total of 1,484,927 drivers who passed through these devices broke the speed limit.

Norway has some of the world’s highest traffic fines. In the last five years, fines levied by the police, added to those brought in by the automatic traffic cameras, have totalled between NOK 216 millon and NOK 256 million (USD 37 million – 44 million).

Views and News from Norway/Sven Goll
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