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Garda Commissioner Drew Harris before the Committee Oireachtas TV/PA Images
Road Safety

There will be a 'substantial increase’ in number of speed and safety cameras on Irish roads, Harris says

The plan involves all frontline gardaí dedicating 30 minutes of their shift to do roads policing.

LAST UPDATE | 15 May

THERE WILL BE a “substantial increase” in the number of speed and safety cameras on Irish roads, as the Garda Commissioner pledged to crack down on the number of drivers who speed.

Drew Harris told the Joint Committee on Transport today that there are plans to bring in more than 100 static cameras and average speed traffic cameras over the next year, following a surge in road fatalities in the last year.

Fianna Fail Senator Gerry Horkan claimed that the four most common characteristics of road crashes involve young people driving at weekends night-time driving and rural roads.

“With the best will in the world, we could probably quadruple or multiply by a factor of 10 the number of people in roads policing and we’ll never cover every road road,” he added.

Harris said: “I think a lot of the improvement in our road safety is concentrated on speed.

“If there was less speed, and I know other nations in Europe have concentrated on speed in particular, but there’s particular concentrations on speed in the Scandinavian countries and less speed means that collisions are less severe and perhaps then more survivable.

“We ourselves are looking at a substantial increase in the safety camera network in terms of static road safety cameras.

“We’ve set a target of 100 additional road safety cameras.”

Harris told the committee that there are plans to increase the number of road policing gardai to 700 by the end of the year.

The committee heard there are currently 623 officers working in the unit.

Harris appeared before the Oireachtas committee to answer questions over the rising number of road deaths.

72 people have died in road incidents so far in 2024, compared to 59 at this time last year, and there has been an increase in collisions which are up 67 so far this year compared to last. 

Last month, Harris rolled out a new plan that involves all frontline gardai dedicating 30 minutes of their shift to roads policing.

Phone use 

The Garda Commissioner told the Oireachtas Transport committee that gardaí have detected 2,148 people using phones in the first month of the new plan.

Harris said that since the operation began on 12 April, there has been a 55% increase in fixed charge notices because of mobile phone use, and a 40% increase in those detected as driving under the influence. 

He said that the 30-minute shift is one measure gardaí are taking as a result of the upward trend in road deaths this year. 

Harris said that the initiative has been adapted from the Swedish Road Safety Strategy, which has halved road deaths in that country. 

He said that research in Sweden shows that the presence of a police officer in a visible position for a period of 30 minutes collectively alters driver behaviour and reduces speed, which he will say “plays a vital role in reducing fatal or serious injury road traffic collisions”. 

Harris told the committee that gardaí have issued 45,951 fixed charge notices for speeding so far this year. 

He said that 70% of these were detected by mobile speeding cameras, of which there are 55 in the country. Another three will be in operation in the coming weeks. 

Three more speed safety cameras will be set up along the N3, N5 and N2 later this year. 

“These nine static speed cameras will cost approximately €2.4 million over the next 18 months. Their locations have been selected based on fatal and serious injury collision data from the last seven years,” Harris said.

Includes reporting by Press Association

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