Hi-tech highway speed monitoring tells a tale

2014-11-17 00:00

THOUSANDS of motorists use KwaZulu-Natal’s N3 highway daily and many are breaking the speed limit and other rules of the road.

The KZN branch of Mikros Traffic Monitoring, which supervises the “Average Speed over Distance” cameras along the provincial route of the N3 highway, found on average one road violation every minute, 24/7.

Mikros’s manager, Mike Hellens said there are at least 80 000 recorded violations every month from average speed zones and fixed cameras.

“Roughly 40 000 speeding violations come from our ten average speed zones along the N3 and another 40 000 come from fixed cameras every month,” Hellens said.

Their systems shows most violations from light motor vehicles happen on the south-bound carriageway of Van Reenen’s Pass; while heavier motor vehicles tend to misbehave mostly between Tweedie and Nottingham Road.

“The highest percentages of speedsters are foreign from the province, like your Gauteng drivers,” he said.

Hellens described how a Porsche inbound from Johannesburg was clocked at an average speed of 222 km/h, the highest speed they had ever recorded.

“We have noticed … people actually slow down when they come near an average speed camera. Whether you pass it at 300 km/h it does not matter; what matters is the speed you do between the two sites,” he added. A leeway of 11 km/h is allowed before one will be prosecuted, but speedsters aren’t the only ones who should be wary. There are also special pads in the surface of the road that measure the weight of trucks. Hellens said that they sometimes identify trucks that are in excess of 30 tons. The most overloaded truck the centre has seen was at least 50 tons over the legal weight restriction.

So just how much money is gathered by the fines?

According to The KZN Treasury’s Ntokozo Maphisa, the Department of Transport has collected over R24 million for 2014 thus far and has projected a total of R36,752 million for the current financial year.

“All the collections become provincial-owned funds for our own revenue. They are then allocated as an add-on to the budget we receive from national government,” Maphisa said.

The Average Speed over Distance cameras are positioned strategically at points along areas of the highway known for excessive speeding.

Besides capturing your speed between two points, the camera also captures every number plate and sends this information to a Joint Information System which returns data pertaining to outstanding warrants and stolen and unroadworthy vehicles to traffic officials.

The data travels over 1 200km and the entire process takes between two to four seconds.

“ The transparent nature of its enforcement is solely in the interest of road safety,” Hellens concluded.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

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