‘Speed-over-distance’ safety cameras credited with dramatic fall in speeding

Daily average of 24 motorists caught speeding between junctions on M7 in Tipperary

There was a dramatic fall last year in the number of motorists detected speeding at the State’s two “speed-over-distance” safety camera systems, located in the Dublin Tunnel and on the M7, near Birdhill in Co Tipperary.

Speed-over-distance cameras record vehicles at two distinct points a set distance apart, and note the exact time a vehicle passes each camera. The operation allows the Garda to accurately calculate the speed of the vehicle.

For example, if Point A and Point B are set 120km apart, the vehicle can legally cover that distance in one hour, travelling at the maximum speed of 120km/h. If a motorist takes less than one hour to travel the distance, then they would be liable for a €160 fine and three penalty points.

Figures provided by An Garda Síochána show a daily average of just over 24 motorists were caught driving at speeds in excess of 120km/h over the distance between Junction 26 (Nenagh West) and Junction 27 (Birdhill) on the M7 in Co Tipperary.


Overall, some 5,691 speeding fines and penalty points were issued to motorists detected speeding on the 15km-stretch of road, between April 25th and December 13th last year, some 233 days.

The figures show eastbound motorists travelling towards Dublin were more inclined to break the speed limit, with 3,009 motorists detected. Some 2,682 westbound motorists travelling towards Limerick were detected.

The figure is down from a daily average of 47 fines and penalty points issued to motorists, as measured between April 25th when the speed-over-distance cameras became operational, and the beginning of July. In July assistant Garda Commissioner Paula Hilman said compliance with the speed limit, at 47 detections per day, was 96 per cent, up from 89 per cent before the system went live.

While end-of-year figures for compliance were not immediately available, the data indicate compliance with the speed limit must now be in the region of 99 per cent.

At the Dublin Tunnel latest figures from the Garda show a daily average of 7.7 motorists received fines and penalty points between January 1st and December 13th last year, some 347 days. Overall, 2,662 cases of speeding were detected – 857 northbound and 1,805 southbound.

The figures for detection at the Dublin Tunnel are significantly lower than 2019, when the number of motorists detected speeding was 4,028. Figures for overall traffic compliance were not immediately available.

“People have changed their behaviour. They know if they exceed the average speed limit, there will be consequences,” said Ms Hilman.

Brian Farrell of the Road Safety Authority said the figures showed “how very effective speed-over-distance camera systems are”.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland said the issue of rolling out more speed camera systems in conjunction with the Garda authorities, would be kept under review.

Speeding offences incur a fixed charge fine of €160, together with three penalty points. Motorists caught speeding on traffic cameras receive a fixed charge notice of the fine and penalty points by post. They then have 28 days, from the date the notice issued, in which to pay the fine.

If the fine is not paid the fine then increases to €240 which must be paid within 28 days. If after this time (a total of 56 days) the fine remains unpaid the offence is referred to the courts. If a person is convicted in court of speeding offences and non-payment of fines, there is an automatic five penalty points and a fine up to a maximum of €1,000.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist