11/21/2005Norway to Double Speed Camera System
Norway is looking to double the number of cameras that issue traffic fines higher than fines for serious crimes.
The state highway department in Norway, Vegdirektoratet, is looking to increase revenue from photo tickets. Over the next three years it will nearly double the number of speed cameras from 330 to 630. The agency is also looking at changing the law to fine the owner, not the driver, of the automobile so that the country will no longer need to punish the correct person for each offense -- a task made more difficult by the poor quality of photographs that the machines generate.
The country of 4.5 million already imposes some of the highest fines on motorists in Europe. After a February 2005 increase, red light camera tickets stand at 5200 kroner (US $780). The minimum speeding ticket fine for ten k/mh (6 MPH) over the limit is 2900 kroner (US $435), while twenty km/h (12 MPH) over the limit grows to 3600 kroner (US $540).
In contrast, drug possession fines run between 2000 and 3000 kroner. Red light camera ticket recipients paid higher fines than a majority of criminals convicted of the following crimes in 2003: burglary, larceny, forgery, receiving stolen goods and harassment.
In 2001, the country confiscated licenses from 10,000 drivers over traffic tickets, an explosion of 40 percent over the previous year. Even before the fines were hiked, the tiny country generated 720 million kroner (US $112 million) in revenue from 251,973 traffic fines, which was a 29 percent increase over 2002.