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Scotland starts project to replace wet film speed cameras with digital units

The Scottish Safety Camera Programme (SSCP) has started work on a £7 million (US$11.5 million) project to convert the country's network of fixed speed cameras from older wet film types to digital ones within the next seven years. The scheme to replace the old cameras is already underway in Glasgow. The city will see 13 red light cameras replaced under the current program with new dual use digital units, which will also be able to capture speeding motorists, as well as red light jumpers. Gladys Cadden, manager of SSCP, says, “This is a major advance for road safety, as it addresses the problem of drivers speeding up to beat the lights, as well as those going through the signals.”

Road safety authorities say the cost of maintaining the old cameras, which require staff to manually load, unload and process film, is becoming prohibitively expensive. By law, police have to issue a notice to a motorist within 14 days of their being captured by a roadside camera in order to proceed with any ensuing prosecution, which can mean a tight turnaround time, given that film is only collected once a week. Jim Dale, director of the SSCP, says there hadn’t been any instances of prosecutions being thwarted because of problems with analogue cameras breaking down, but that this would be a possibility if they were not replaced in an appropriate timeframe. “We're confident that the Scottish Government is committed to funding the replacement of these cameras,” he adds.

Scotland’s network of 225 fixed cameras, which includes 47 red light cameras, will need to be replaced within the next five to seven years, though some of them are expected to be decommissioned as problems with accident blackspots are remedied. The deployment of speed and red light cameras since 2002 has been successful in cutting accidents and speeding. Accidents at camera locations have fallen and the number of people who have been fined for speeding fell from 144,234 in 2004/05 to just 60,139 in 2008/09. More mobile cameras are now being deployed as a result, given that accidents are now less concentrated in ‘blackspots’ and are more likely to be dispersed around the road network.

 

November 30, 2009

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