Belfast Telegraph

£4.5m from speed fines but nothing spent road safety in Northern Ireland

By Sophie Inge

More than £4.5m has been raised through speed camera fines in Northern Ireland in the last four years - but not a penny has been invested in initiatives to save lives on the roads, it has been claimed.

An MLA has branded answers he received on the matter from the Department of Justice as "outrageous".

Ulster Unionist Robin Swann discovered that a total of £4,478,000 had been raised from mobile and fixed speed camera fines since 2012.

He requested a yearly breakdown of road safety measures funded by the penalties since 2013.

The Department of Justice said: "There have been no road safety initiatives funded from these monies since 2012 when new mobile cameras and road safety camera vans were purchased."

Mr Swann said: "It is an absolute outrage that despite almost £4.5m being raised from speed camera fines over the last four years, that by the Department of Justice's own admission, not one penny has been reinvested in road safety initiatives.

"I have asked a series of Assembly questions on this issue, I am however shocked at this revelation.

"In our response to the 2015/2016 budget the Ulster Unionist Party argued for a restoration of funding for road safety awareness. It is clear that road safety is not receiving the attention it deserves.

"Surely there is an overwhelming moral obligation on the Executive to use at least some of the funds received from speeding fines to encourage road safety and ultimately reduce deaths on our roads."

Safety campaigners backed the MLA's comments.

Davy Jackson from Road Safe NI said: "Should additional funds become available, we would be happy to fully engage with the Department of Justice and others on how the additional funding could be best utilised."

Kevin Clinton from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said Mr Swann's idea was "simple and sensible".

"Road crashes cause immeasurable loss and trauma for the victims and their families, and impose an enormous economic loss to Northern Ireland's economy," he said.

"Road safety measures save lives and prevent (often life-changing) injuries. They also save an immense amount of public money and help economic growth. Reinvesting fines from speed camera fines would be a simple and sensible way of supporting road safety."

PSNI figures show there were 6,147 collisions causing injury in 2015, resulting in 9,737 casualties.

The Department of Justice declined to comment.

Belfast Telegraph

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