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Speed camera, system problems cost state up to €15m in revenue

The number of speeding tickets issued by police in 2020 was down 41 percent compared to the previous year.

Rekka ajaa nopeusvalvontakameran ohi.
The number of speeding fines issued by police began to decline from May last year. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle
Yle News

Police issued about 110,000 fewer speeding tickets last year than in 2019, costing the state between 10 and 15 million euros in lost revenue, due to problems with a new batch of traffic surveillance cameras as well as the system of processing speeding violations.

The issues led to police switching off some cameras for several months, as well as raising the speeding threshold above the normal levels of other speed surveillance devices on the roads.

"We raised the [speed] threshold to a higher limit (21km/h) in May," superintendent Heikki Ihalainen of the National Police Board told Yle.

As a result, the amount of fines imposed on motorists travelling just above the speed limit on Finnish roads in May fell to about a third of the level for the same month in 2019.

This decline was repeated in June, when a system error led to about 4,000 speeding tickets being issued with incorrect information.

Problems with the system were rectified during the autumn, Ihalainen said, but December 2020 saw another significant drop in the number of speeding tickets, down by half, compared to the same month in 2019.

Restrictions on movement and travel due to the coronavirus epidemic was a factor, Ihalainen added.

Over the course of the year, the number of speeding tickets issued by police in 2020 was down 41 percent on the previous year.

"The decrease in traffic volumes partly explains this drop, but of course the introduction of our new system for handling traffic violations is the biggest factor behind these figures," Ihalainen said, adding that the system failures may also have been a factor in an increase in driver recklessness.

"The number of serious threats to road safety has clearly increased. Normally there would be about 4,000 of them a year, by the end of November 2020 there had already been 5,700," he said.

However, Ihalainen added that the number of deaths and injuries caused by road crashes fell last year, according to preliminary data.

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