Consequently police have temporarily stopped printing traffic tickets for those caught by the intelligent cameras, Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen told The Phuket News.
“Currently, we are facing budget issues as the cost of printing the tickets is expensive, and there are a lot of cases – tens of thousands per month,” Gen Teeraphol said.
“It costs B19 to print one ticket, and when people do not pay them, we have to send more. Altogether, printing tickets has already cost B4-5 million,” he said.
The B16 million cameras and integrated technology, provided by the Safer Roads Foundation, have the ability to automatically trigger fines to be issued against the registered owners of vehicles caught entering the intersections. (See story here.)
“The most common fine we send out is for motorcyclists not wearing helmets. The second is vehicles running red lights and the third is speeding.” Gen Teeraphol explained.
“Tens of thousands of instances of motorcyclists without helmets are captured each month,” he added.
Statistics from the cameras show March as the month with highest number of no-helmet offenders with nearly 80,000 instances captured by the technology.
April, May, June and July were lower, ranging from 45,000 to about 60,000 no-helmet offences caught each month.
Offenders caught running a red light at all five intersections combined totalled 2,769 in February (the cameras were brought online on Feb 16) rising to 5,142 in May.
Speeding cases range from under 100 monthly, to around 150 in May, and a 986 all-time maximum in June.
However, Gen Teeraphol admitted, “As there are so many cases, we have been unable to obtain payment from all of the cases. Right now, authorities have temporarily stopped printing the tickets.”
Gen Teeraphol did not disclose how much revenue from tickets from the cameras has been collected or the total amount outstanding, though just on the lowest estimates for tickets issued for no helmet fines alone at B200 each would have seen B54mn in fines issued.
Fines issued for running a red light at B300 each should have seen a further B5.886mn in fines issued. (See list of standard traffic fines here.)
Also, although the printing of tickets has been temporarily suspended, Gen Teeraphol was very clear that the cameras were still operating and compiling images and data on those caught breaking the law, presumably for tickets to be issued at a later date.
Regarding making the payment of traffic fines simpler, Gen Teeraphol added, “One of the processes the project is undergoing is to set up an intermediate payment system so that people can pay via through e-transfer instead of at the police station.
“This will be completed in about a month, in September,” he said.
“Also, there are plans to create a system in the future where the money paid by offenders may be used directly to fund the cost of making fines,” Gen Teeraphol concluded.