'Average speed' cameras three months away in Latvia

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After approximately three months, the average speed control system will be launched in Latvia – an automatic system that measures the average speed of each vehicle at a given section of the road. The first section where it will be installed will be the Rīga bypass, Latvian Television's morning broadcast Rīta Panorāma reported on October 10.

The average speed control system will be installed on 16 road sections in Latvia in the coming months.

“The first phase which will be equipped, will be on the Riga bypass A5,” explained Anna Kononova, spokeswoman for Latvian State Roads Paths. “We hope it will be equipped by the end of this year, perhaps at the very beginning of next year.”

The distance at which the average speed will be measured will be different. At some sections, it will be on a 3-kilometer stage but 10 kilometers on another.

“The phases have been selected by assessing the road situation and taking into account the number of accidents, taking into account the infrastructure, the existence of connections, the speed limit there, and the intensity of traffic and the proportion of freight vehicles,” added Kononova.

The average speed control system will be able to make traffic less dangerous and aggressive, which could result in fewer deaths on Latvian roads, said Jānis Vanks, head of the Safe Driving School.

Before the introduction of the average speed control system, the Ministry of Transport studied the experience of other countries. Latvia is currently well above the European Union average in terms of the number of deaths in road accidents.

“Lithuania introduced [this system] two, three years ago with, if I am not mistaken, 22 sections,” said Tālivaldis Vectirāns, director of the Transport Ministry's Department of Road Infrastructure. According to the Lithuanian Road Administration, Lithuania has average speed camera systems on 25 sections of road. “If Lithuania used to be around where we are now, Lithuania is very close to the average European level at the moment. Estonia, which has introduced a very sharp and drastic system from the 1990s, is already below the European average."

The deployment and maintenance of the average speed control system will cost approximately €1.2 million.

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