New speed cameras for A1 arrive

By Jonathan McCambridge
12 July 2006

Police will begin the final stages of introducing controversial new speed cameras on one of Northern Ireland's most dangerous roads this week.

The Speed Enforcement Camera System (SPECS) will be placed on the A1 dual carriageway between the Sheepbridge and Newry and also between the Cloghue roundabout and the border.

More than 12 lives have been lost on the stretch of road in the past five years.

Work has already begun on preparing the sites for these cameras along this road and they will be in place and fully operational by the beginning of next month.

SPECS deploys digital safety cameras in pairs to monitor drivers' average speeds between two fixed points, which means that motorists are urged to drive within the speed limit throughout this route.

The cameras do not flash and all the data is digitally stored so that there is no need for film.

As vehicles pass between the cameras they are digitally recorded. The time it takes for the vehicle to travel between both points is used to calculate the average speed.

If a vehicle exceeds the speed threshold, a speeding violation record is automatically generated. Warning signs will be in place to advise road users that they will be entering an average speed zone.

Police also announced that there are also plans in place to introduce the SPECS cameras to the A2 between Holywood and Bangor later in the year.

The digital cameras have never been used in Northern Ireland before but have proven immensely controversial in the rest of the UK where they have been described as stealth traps. They have been criticised by various motoring associations who have claimed they are not a deterrent to speeding.

Earlier this week the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the PSNI are to carry out road tests on new SPECS cameras in Co Down later this year.