What about? Can the municipality just place speed cameras anywhere?

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Seemingly simple questions are often the most difficult to answer. In the What’s up section? we try to find the answer to such questions every week. This time: is the municipality allowed to install speed cameras just anywhere?

Who manages the speed cameras in the Netherlands?

If you receive a traffic fine as a result of a speeding violation, you pay it to the Central Judicial Collection Agency (CJIB). This agency falls under the Ministry of Justice and Security. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) then determines where the speed cameras will be located. It does this in consultation with the police (also part of Justice and Security) and road authorities, such as Rijkswaterstaat, provinces, municipalities and water boards.

The municipality can therefore have a say in the matter, but the ultimate responsibility lies with the Public Prosecution Service. “The only thing we can do, if we want a speed camera to be installed somewhere, is to send a letter to the Public Prosecution Service,” said Rotterdam traffic councilor Vincent Karremans in Speech makers (NPO Radio 1). The management of the mobile speed cameras is also in the hands of the Public Prosecution Service. MAX holiday man explains more about these flex flashes in this article.

Who manages the speed cameras in Flanders?

So if a municipality wants to install additional speed cameras, this is not simply possible. This is the case on the other side of the border. In Flanders, the responsibility for managing speed cameras lies with the municipalities. They have had hundreds of additional speed cameras installed in recent years. For this purpose they often engage commercial parties, who supply the material and take care of the maintenance. The proceeds from the traffic fines go to the municipalities and these commercial companies.

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Why do the largest Dutch cities also want such a Flemish system?

Mayors of the four largest Dutch cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague – also want to apply this Flemish model in their city. They want to reduce the number of road casualties and hope to increase road safety in their municipality with additional speed cameras. “If the Public Prosecution Service does not want to do that, fine. But then give us the powers to do it ourselves,” continues Alderman Karremans. “The moment the chance of being caught increases, people start behaving according to the rule.”

Why doesn’t the Public Prosecution Service do this?

But the Public Prosecution Service sees nothing in these plans. If municipalities decide for themselves how many speed cameras they will install, this will create inequality between cities. Chief officer Liesbeth Schuijer argues in conversation with it Algemeen Dagblad for cheaper solutions. “Think of flower boxes along the road or light signals. A good example is the Coolsingel in Rotterdam, where flashing lights in the road surface warn of zebra crossings.”

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How did the Flemish model actually turn out in Belgium?

Hundreds of speed cameras have been added in Belgium. Road safety has indeed increased in several municipalities, but not everyone is happy with this measure. Some practical examples show that the interests of commercial parties play a role. For example, speed bumps, zebra crossings and road narrowings have been removed in a number of municipalities.

These measures do not seem to be particularly beneficial for road safety. “Then it no longer has anything to do with road safety, but everything to do with collecting as much fine revenue as possible,” agrees Tim Buyse, general secretary of government agency MORA, in conversation with News hour. “I would especially not look at the Flemish system in this area. This has not been a good move in Flanders.”

What are municipalities allowed to do?

The major Dutch cities have started an experiment in 2023 to tackle traffic nuisance in a different way: the noise speed camera. These systems do not register the speed of cars, but the amount of noise they make. If a car produces more than 80 decibels of noise, it is registered in the system. However, it remains to be seen whether this experiment will be continued after 2024.

(Source: Archive, MAX holiday man, NPO Radio 1, National Government, Central Judicial Collection Agency, Algemeen Dagblad, Nieuwsuur. Photo: Andre Muller/Shutterstock)

The article is in Dutch

Tags: municipality place speed cameras

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