Measures to cut driving speed are widely recognized as one of the most effective pathways to immediate and sustained road traffic injury reductions. "Automated Speed Enforcement systems have progressively become a cornerstone of national road safety strategies in many parts of the world" notes Philip Wijers, Chair of the IRF Subcommittee on Enforcement, "but they rely on a foundation of trust in the rationale, goals and tools that underpin these strategies".
ASE systems produce a record of the speed of a motor vehicle when the driver has exceeded the maximum posted speed limit. For an ASE system to be effective and widely accepted, including in a court of law, it is of paramount importance that all readings from speed enforcement devices are accurate, and that this accuracy can be proven by the operator. If an ASE system is improperly installed or maintained in a way that does not comply with the specified requirements, the accuracy of the readings may diverge sufficiently from the installation parameters to create a 'reasonable doubt'.
Once type approval is gained by the manufacturer in the relevant jurisdiction, it is up to the operator of the ASE to procure verification services though a laboratory that is certified to provide traceable calibrations. An independent calibration test conducted by an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory, that can produce traceable and accurate data in a full on-site system test from the road to the violation record, will provide the strongest assurance and is much less susceptible to legal or technical challenges.
Conversely, if an ASE system is found to be inaccurate during or after a period of uncalibrated enforcement operation, the safety benefit and credibility of the ASE treatment as a whole is at risk. A reduction in the trust in the accuracy of the ASE systems will result in a loss of public support and confidence in the enforcement authority, and could also result in reparations that include the repayment of fines and penalties incorrectly issued as a result of the defect. Finally, the removal of an improperly calibrated speed enforcement system will create a period of increased risk to the public.
According to Trevor Hall, Managing Director of Road Safety Support, whose technical experts contributed to the new IRF White Paper, "the reduction of legal challenges will keep the work of ASE authorities and courts system to a minimum. The resulting cost savings, and decreased threat to reputational risk of the enforcement authority, are just two of the benefits. The main advantage though is to have a system that is fair to the driving public. Ultimately, the approach outlined in the IRF guidelines allows all stakeholders to have confidence in a credible and accurate system, a system which is deployed fundamentally to save lives".