284. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on whether the average speed enforcement system as operated in the Dublin Port tunnel has substantially helped to reduce the average speed by vehicles; his plans to roll out this system to other parts of the motorway network (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31040/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that an average speed camera project was initiated at the Dublin Port Tunnel in June 2017 on a pilot basis. This pilot project was funded by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).
According to TII, an analysis of driver behaviour carried out in October 2015 confirmed that 58% of drivers using the Dublin Port Tunnel exceeded the 80 km/h speed limit, and 20% exceeded this limit by more than 10 km/h.
Following the introduction of the average speed camera system at the Dublin Port Tunnel, the percentage of drivers exceeding the limit by more than 10 km/h has fallen to 0.15%. This suggests that the system has had a significant effect on driver behaviour. TII also emphasises that this reduction in excessive speed is particularly notable, occurring, as it does, against the backdrop of increasing weekday traffic volumes, with Monday-Friday traffic volumes rising by 40% over the past five years.
Prior to the introduction of this system, speed checks at the Dublin Port Tunnel were conducted using handheld laser-based technology, and required a Garda presence to identify and intercept speeding vehicles. For safety reasons, these checks could only be conducted outside the tunnel and, therefore, could not influence driver behaviour inside the tunnel itself.
The average speed camera system allows the enforcement of the speed limit within the tunnel itself, with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) used to identify vehicles that have exceeded the speed limit and the relevant fixed charge notices (FCNs) are issued by An Garda Síochána without the vehicle being intercepted.
I understand that TII has recommended the extension of the average speed camera project for an additional four years and has committed to continuing its funding and operation of the system during the extension period.
In terms of speed enforcement on other roads, I would remind the Deputy that this is accomplished by An Garda Síochána through the use of both intercept and non-intercept methods, with safety cameras being used in specific locations, known as speed enforcement zones, around the country in order to provide non-intercept detection of speeding vehicles.
The overall impact of the safety cameras can be seen in the impact on the fatal collisions in the designated speed enforcement zones. The designation of specific sections of road as speed enforcement zones is based on an analysis of collision data by An Garda Síochána. In the years 2004 to 2009 (the 6 years before the introduction of the safety camera network began), approximately 3 out of 10 (30%) fatal collisions occurred in these zones. In 2015, this figure had reduced to 16% (or 24 road deaths) in safety camera zones.
The Deputy will appreciate that the deployment of Garda resources is, of course, a matter for the Garda Commissioner, and I, Minister for Justice and Equality, have no role in such operational matters.