Speed vans - How do they work?

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How do speed vans work?


Speed Vans

You may have asked the question before, how do speed vans work and is there a person inside them?


The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and Garda GoSafe where at the ploughing championships where they managed to draw in the crowds for a talk on how speed cameras work.


Most motorists will come across speed vans at some point or another while out on the road. The minimum enforcement hours for these vehicles is 7,400 hours per month, speed vans are something most motorists will come across on a regular basis.


These vans take photos via the onboard video system, so there is no flash photography as you would have seen in the first generation vans. This means that the road is constantly being filmed by DV, and they can get get a video grab of the offender's car from the video feed for ID purposes.


The picture they send out to you with your speeding fine will be zoomed in tight to your vehicles number plate. These vans work off K-Band radar (which is very similar to automatic door openers in shops/ garages etc). There is also a forward facing camera on the dashboard of the van, primarily to read motorbike plates.


The operations manager for GoSafe, Darren McGrath spoke about the most frequently asked questions about speed cameras. The main question being, how do speed cameras work? Well, according to the authorities, all roads around Ireland are divided into a number of zones and sites, which determine where the vans will park. Mr McGrath told the media:


"The zones are based on live data that is generated from road traffic collisions, from fatalities, from minor injuries and also from speeding,"
"We would regularly monitor the data and determine where we need to be from time to time. If the compliance is high, we don't need to be there as regularly.
"Road traffic collisions have a huge bearing, particularly fatalities, on where we're going to go."


Is there a person inside the van? These vans are manned at all times, and the GoSafe runs 24/7, for all 365 days of the year. How do the cameras catch people speeding? Mr McGrath went on to say:


"We monitor from the back of the van, so the camera is on the back of the van," .
"When you're moving past the back of the van, either coming towards or moving away, the van can monitor that speed."


And how near to the van do you have to be for it to track your speed?


"The general rule of thumb that we would use is that if you can see the van, you're generally in range."


One of the main contentions re Gardaí is that they are purposely looking to catch people out speeding? Despite this perception, Mr McGrath explains, the main goal of GoSafe is "to save lives", and claims that road deaths have reduced by 50pc since they first launched.


"The purpose of GoSafe isn't to catch people speeding, it's to prevent people from speeding,"
"Our number one goal is to save lives and we try and do that by encouraging people to obey the speed limits and to slow down essentially.
"Since we started in 2010, we have reduced road deaths by 50pc."


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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