Finland's authorities believe that the new speed radars installed on the main roads in the country have improved traffic safety. At least, that is what the National Police Board assured in a press release, in which it claims to have reduced the accident rate and the average speed at which the vehicles circulate.
The new radar posts equipped with cameras were tested for the first time in Oulu in June 2018. In 2019 they entered into operation on highways 4 and 6 replacing the common box-shaped speed cameras. This was highly criticized by some Finnish drivers, who saw in this investment a pure interest in collecting fines.
However, the statistics relating to their first half year of operation show that the new camera poles erected along highways 4 and 6 have brought down the number of accidents and driving speeds in the road sections concerned.
“We are pleased about having been able to improve traffic safety in roads with high traffic volumes,” says Chief Superintendent Heikki Ihalainen of the National Police Board.
Zero fatal accidents
According to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s statistics, the accident rate in the section of highway 4 between Lusi and Vaajakoski during April–September has reduced. The number of accidents was 27 in 2016 and 15 in 2019, respectively. (19 in 2017 and 18 in 2018).
Also, based on the automated speed measurement points maintained by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, driving speeds during September–October were lower than before. Currently, the average driving speeds are at 85.6 km/h, compared to 87.7 km/h in 2016.
Zero accidents resulting in fatalities took place in 2019, while two people were killed in 2018 during January–August in the section of highway 4 with traffic surveillance. The number of accidents resulting in injuries in 2019 was three, compared to eight in 2018.
Accidents reduced on highway 6
The accident rate during April–September also reduced in the section of highway 6 between Loviisa and Kouvola. In 2016, 16 accidents took place during the above period, while the corresponding figure in 2019 was only seven. (11 in 2017 and 9 in 2018)
Based on the results of the automated speed measurement points maintained by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, driving speeds were lower than before during September–October. This year’s average driving speeds were at 87.8 km/h, compared to 91.5 km/h in 2016.
Zero fatal accidents took place on Highway 6 during January–August in both 2019 and 2018. The number of accidents resulting in injuries was four in 2019 and three in 2018, respectively.
2,100 fines served
New camera surveillance equipment was erected in the road sections between Lusi and Vaajakoski and between Loviisa and Kouvola in autumn 2018. Traffic surveillance commenced on 11 July 2019, with a single surveillance point in each road section.
Roughly 2,100 fines or fixed fines and 1,800 cautions in total have been served on the basis of the traffic surveillance carried out in these two road sections. Data on fines published by the police in the release do not provide figures for previous years, so it is not possible to confirm if the number of sanctions rose or fell.
Ihalainen says that the number of traffic safety cameras was increased gradually in both road sections and they now have sufficient coverage.
“The new cameras use radar technology. They measure driving speeds on the basis of the same threshold for intervention as the old cameras did, with a range of a few tens of metres before the camera pole,” Ihalainen confirms.