Tuesday 27 May 2014

1,175 motorists caught beating red lights by new digital camera system three months after it was set up on 1 March 2014

By Toh Yong Chuan, The Straits Times, 26 May 2014

AN UPGRADED digital camera system has caught 1,175 motorists beating red lights, barely three months after it was set up.

In March, the police starting operating a new generation of digital cameras that do away with films at five traffic junctions.

Installation has been completed at 30 junctions and the upgrading of all 240 red light cameras will be completed by June next year, said the police in a progress update to The Straits Times last week.

These cameras work round the clock and the digital photographs of errant motorists can be retrieved remotely, unlike the older cameras which rely on films that have to be physically replaced when they run out.

The 30 junctions with the upgraded cameras include those in major roads like Victoria Street and Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1.

Almost 18,800 motorists were caught by the police for beating red lights last year, up slightly from about 18,700 in 2012.

The digital red light cameras are part of a broader plan by the police to use more cameras in law enforcement, including having them installed in patrol cars and Housing Board estates, and even having them worn by police officers during operations.

140 roads shortlisted for speed camera study
Roads in HDB estates like Yishun and residential areas included on list
By Toh Yong Chuan, The Straits Times, 26 May 2014


The police are installing more speed cameras and have shortlisted 140 roads to study whether new cameras can be installed to nab those who speed.

The list, obtained by The Straits Times, threw up some surprises.

Besides expressways where there are already permanent speed cameras and main roads such as Lornie Road where portable speed cameras are known to be used extensively, the list also included roads in Housing Board estates in Choa Chu Kang, Pasir Ris, Tampines, Woodlands and Yishun.

Laid-back residential enclaves such as Serangoon Garden and Picadilly Circus near Seletar, where the speed limit is 50kmh, were also shortlisted.

The move follows a 6 per cent rise in the number of speeding tickets issued from 245,427 in 2012 to 260,512 last year.

Confirming the study, the police said it "will help to provide information such as optimal allocation of cameras... and where to place the speed cameras for effective deterrence".

But the police would not disclose how many permanent speed cameras are being used now or how many new ones they were looking to install.

The police said only that nearly 260 digital red light and speed cameras will be installed by the first half of next year.

They did not give a breakdown, but most of the 260 are cameras to capture motorists who drive past red lights, with only a small number of speed cameras, going by earlier reports.

There were 18 permanent speed cameras as at May 2012. On top of that, there are 56 known spots where the police use portable speed cameras to catch speedsters. They do not generally provide details of how these speed cameras are operated.

The police are also looking for experts to study accident trends on 200 roads, including those shortlisted.

Experts and residents back the expansion of the speed camera network.

"It is about time," said Ms Lee Bee Wah, Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, when told that Yishun Avenue 1 is on the shortlist. She has been lobbying in Parliament for a camera to be installed along that road since 2012, saying that vehicles speed there.

Added Mr Hri Kumar Nair, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs and Law: "Speed cameras are effective in causing vehicles to slow down in areas where they are located."

But not all roads are suitable for installing speed cameras. "Long straight stretches, where drivers tend to go faster than normal, are candidates," said a veteran road engineer who asked not to be named because he is looking to take part in the study.

"It is okay to drive faster on expressways because they are designed for faster speeds, but we don't want to encourage speeding at the wrong places," he added.

While supporting the use of speed cameras, Mr Alvin Tan, who lives off Upper Bukit Timah Road which is shortlisted for the study, said sufficient warning must be given to motorists to slow down.

"The purpose of speed cameras is to encourage safe driving, not collect fines from unsuspecting drivers," said the 48-year-old senior vice-president of a Singapore Exchange-listed company .

"Without sufficient warning, drivers who brake suddenly when they see the speed cameras can cause accidents, and that is dangerous," he added.

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