SPEED CAMERA APPEARS IN BALLAUGH
WHEN is a speed camera not a speed camera?
When the Department of Transport refers to it by another name.
Motorists in Ballaugh were baffled after the appearance of this device, that looks identical to those used to catch and criminalise speeding drivers in the UK.
The DoT finally admitted on Friday that it would photograph speeding drivers – but insists it is merely a safety camera.
It will monitor traffic, transmitting images to the road safety unit at the Sea Terminal.
The data will be analysed to help establish the reason for an increase in collisions.
Details of speeding drivers will be recorded and the DoT will issue a ticking off by post.
No prosecutions will result from it, the DoT insists.
If a trial is successful, similar cameras could be used elsewhere.
The DoT says the camera, which will be up and running in six weeks, stems from an 'alarming increase' in accidents at Ballaugh bridge.
Last year there were eight accidents, compared with just two in the previous two years.
The department hopes the camera 'will have a positive effect on excessive speeds and that there will be a reduction in casualties.
'If the Ballaugh trial has a positive effect on road safety in the village it is intended to deploy the equipment elsewhere,' said a spokesman.
Just a week ago, Transport Minister Phil Braidwood said static speed cameras would not be introduced if his plan for a national speed limit was backed.
Challenged over the appearance of one a week later, he said it was simply a deterrent to reduce accidents.
'This is not going to be a revenue generator. The whole point is that we don't want to put cameras all over the place.'
The camera flashes, like the unpopular UK Gatsos, but is not calibrated.
However, those who repeatedly speed past it could still find themselves in trouble with the law as their details will be passed to police.
Mr Braidwood said: 'I will not introduce speed cameras as a means of raising revenue but only for safety reasons to cut down the number of accidents.
'We are working in liaison with the Department of Home Affairs to introduce a mobile speed camera. 'We have no plans for static cameras. Instead the camera will be in unmarked police vehicles.'
Cameras to catch drivers jumping the lights at York Road, Douglas, are due to be installed this month after a campaign to improve safety there.
The Ballaugh camera, which went up unannounced, may only serve to further confuse drivers.
In December 2001, the DoT confirmed Richmond Hill and Greeba Bridge had been highlighted as areas that may benefit from speed cameras.
The cameras were due to be introduced the following year but never materialised.
22 May 2006