The number of detections for speeding in Donegal has increased by over 100 per cent in the first full year that private speed cameras have been operating in the county.
Provisional trends from the gardai show an increase of 123 per cent in the number of speeding detections in 2011 compared to 2010. The figures include detections by garda speed detection vehicles and the private speed safety vans operated by GoSafe which began operating in late 2010. The privately operated vans work on stretches of road which have been prone to serious accidents.
Donegal was identified as having the most sites for speed related accidents and has 63 speed camera locations - more than any other county.
Head of the Traffic Corps in Donegal, Inspector Michael Harrison, said the introduction of the GoSafe vans seems to have had an impact on driver behaviour.
The county experienced its lowest number of fatalities on record last year with just six deaths.
Inspector Harrison said the increase in speeding detections coincided with a 33 per cent decrease in the number of fatal collisions and a 13 per cent drop in serious injury collisions.
“Hopefully people will continue to drive the way they are driving,” he said. “If you compare the increase with the number of people dying on the roads - something is happening on the roads in Donegal in the last two years. I don’t know what it is but the number of collisions are down - there is a huge decrease.”
He said material damage collisions have seen a 14 per cent decrease between 2011 and 2010. “That’s an indication that there is something happening in the driving of most people.”
“The public have to take credit for this. Good work is being done by everyone - the Road Safety Working Group, and the campaign groups like A-Ceart and Parc. Maybe people have slowed down and have more time to react to situations.”
The number of detections for people using mobile phones increased by 23 per cent and Inspector Harrison said the Donegal Road Safety Working group will be launching a crack-down on mobile phone usage by drivers in the coming months. He said the problem was “endemic” in the county. “You just can’t drive while using a mobile phone,” he said.