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System error may lead to many escaping speeding fines

The state treasury stands to lose about €100,000 per day in unpaid fines until the issue is resolved.

Henkilöauton vetämä peräkärry ohittaa nopeusvalvontakameran.
Automated speed cameras are operating normally, but the new information system introduced to deal with speeding violations has encountered problems. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle

An error in the police’s system of processing speeding violations from automated cameras may lead to motorists avoiding penalties for offences committed on Finnish roads since 1 June.

The problems have led to police sending out a much smaller number of speeding fines for the month of June than usual, and even those sent included incorrect times for when the offences occurred.

"About 4,000 vehicle-specific speeding notifications have been sent and they all have the wrong times," Inspector Heikki Ihalainen of the National Police Board of Finland told Yle. "The time recorded on the notification slip is three hours earlier than the correct time of the incident."

Due to a statutory deadline on the issuing of speeding tickets, which must be sent no later than 30 days after the date of the offence, many speeding motorists may avoid having to pay their fines if committed in the first week of June.

The longer it takes for the system error to be rectified, the more deadlines -- and unpaid fines -- will elapse.

Normally, more than 20,000 fines are sent out each month from the automated speed cameras, accruing revenues of about 3-4 million euros to the state treasury, or approximately 100,00 euros per day.

Difficulties had been expected

According to police, the problems are due to the urgency with which the new computer system for automated speed cameras had to be introduced.

Inspector Jari Pajunen of the Interior Ministry’s police department told Yle that the difficulties had been anticipated even at the stage when the change in law was being planned, and that additional time was requested by police but was not provided.

"The introduction of the speeding violation charge alone could not be delayed, but at the same time the entry into force of the entire huge road traffic law reform should have been postponed,” Pajunen said, referring to Finland's new Road Traffic Act which came into force on 1 June.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications, which prepared the reform, emphasised that Parliament approved the act as early as June 2018, and that the content and details of the changes were thus known fully two years before they entered into force.

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