Speeding drivers will face fines and penalty points from next week as a new speed safety camera system launches on a stretch of the M7 in Tipperary.
The mainline Motorway Average Speed Safety Camera system will monitor a driver’s average speed as they drive between Junction 26 (Nenagh West) and Junction 27 (Birdhill) of the motorway, in both directions.
It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The system will become fully operational from 7am on Monday, April 25th and drivers detected travelling in excess of the 120 km/h speed limit will be subject to prosecution from the same time.
A Garda spokesperson said: “Prosecution of speeding offences take place by Fixed Charge Notice. The current Fixed Charge Notice is [an] €80 fine accompanied by three penalty points.”
A pilot of the system commenced in March to monitor compliance levels, but no prosecutions will take place until Monday.
Before the installation of the system, compliance with the motorway speed limit was below 70 per cent. During the pilot scheme, levels rose but remain below 90 per cent.
It is hoped that the introduction of prosecutions will encourage further compliance with the speed limit, with a Garda statement previously saying: “The objective is to secure compliance, not prosecutions.”
The camera system is the first mainline motorway-based system in Ireland, with an identical system in place inside the Dublin Tunnel since mid-2017.
“It has been hugely successful in improving driver behaviour as regards speeding, with the number of drivers exceeding the speed limit of 80 km/h dropping from about 55 per cent to just over 10 per cent,” gardaí said of the Dublin Tunnel system.
Gardaí said analysis of traffic data by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) shows that speeding is “typical of driver behaviour on low traffic volume sections of the motorway network throughout the country.”
“This type of driver behaviour is very dangerous, and it is compounded during rain or hail showers increasing the potential of serious accidents,” a statement added.
TII has analysed speed data on the M7 corridor since 2017 and identified speeding as a “significant issue,” with approximately 40 per cent of drivers exceeding the 120 km/h speed limit on certain sections.
The data also identified that speeds “are not being appropriately moderated in response to adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain or low road temperatures.”
As a result, the section of the M7 now host to the new speed cameras was selected as it has been subject to frequent weather-related events (mostly hail), resulting in increased collision frequency in the area.
Garda Superintendent Tom Murphy said in March that current speeds on the M7 were “totally unacceptable” and it was hoped that 24/7 monitoring would ensure greater speed limit compliance.
"This system will save lives and make our roads safer. An Garda Síochána are delighted to work with TII and RSA to implement this project," he said.