LAST year, 6,800 Malaysians died of road accidents. In fact the World Health Organisation claims that by 2020, road traffic injuries can rank third among causes of death and disability, far ahead than other health problems such as malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS.
Speeding is said to contribute to at least 30 per cent of road traffic crashes and deaths while speeding again is the number one cause for traffic accidents. A study shows that for every 1 km/h increase in speed, there is a three per cent increase in the incidence of injury and a five per cent increase in the risk of a fatal crash.
Now, after scaring you with the facts and figures, let’s scare you more with the fact that AES, or Automated Enforcement System will be launched by the end of August, just before the launch of Hari Raya’s Ops Sikap 2.
AES is basically a speed camera using radar system that is connected via broadband link to its headquarters, where reports will be churned out with photographic evidence and passed on to Road Transport Department (RTD or JPJ) where summons will be sent to the traffic offenders.
There was an issue about which company to be awarded, but let’s leave that for the mainstream media and “kedai-kopi” uncles to discuss.
The AES project has been awarded to two companies, Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd (which will implement the project for the southern region of Peninsular Malaysia) and ATES Road Safety Sdn Bhd (which will cover the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak).
According to a report by The Edge (Page 75, April 16, 2012), both companies are entitled to a share of the revenue collected from the summonses issued by RTD to help recover the cost and generate some returns.
Yes, the cost of installation and running the AES cameras will be borne by the two companies, an estimated RM300 million to RM400 million to get the AES up and running.
The revenue sharing will be in a three-tier model. First, both will get RM16 from each valid summons (not based on how many photographs are taken). This is capped at five million summonses. Above that, Tier Two kicks in where the companies can take 50 per cent of the amount paid in fines, capped at RM270 million a year (government takes an equal share).
Hit above RM270 million a year and Tier Three will come in, allowing the two companies to take in 7.5 per cent of the balance revenue.
RTD director general, Datuk Solah Mat Hassan said to The Edge that the companies will only get their money if offending motorists pay up the fines. That sounds fair.
As for the systems, ATES will be using the Jenoptik Robot from Germany. No, there will not be a C3-PO humanoid manning the camera but instead it uses a radar system with an 11mp camera and a flash to nab speedsters.
Jenoptik claims its system can accurately determined a vehicle’s speed to up to 250 km/h. Above that and there will be a two or three per cent deviation.
Beta Tegap will be using the Australian Reflex system, a simpler looking device but houses two radars with also an 11mp camera (flash can also be installed). Reflex claims its system can take pictures of vehicles going to a speed of up to 300 km/h.
Both systems can be fixed or mobile, set at the road side and are able to determine which lane the vehicle is using. Going high speed on the slow lane will not make you invisible to these high-tech speed cameras. In fact, the cameras can safely cover a road as wide as six lanes or between 50 to 60 meters wide.
As explained, the data (picture, speed, lane, location) will be sent to the headquarters where it will be compared with RTD’s MySikap data base. MySikap has undergone an update recently and the process is an on-going one. If the photo of a car does not match the registered vehicle to the number plate, it will be flagged and sent to RTD for further inspection.
There will be 800 fixed cameras and 500 mobile cameras. Both will be located at Black Spots location, identified by MIROS as accident prone areas. These are based on MIROS research and from our experience, you can count that these are spots which have recorded a high number of accidents.
We called MIROS and an officer informed us that they do have the list and the list will be made available if RTD allows it. We were made to understand that the list of locations are not permanent and will change from time to time. What we know for sure is that the list will be very valuable to satellite navigation sellers in the country now.
Another interesting fact is that AES will also be installed at traffic lights. In fact, around 20 to 30 per cent of the fixed cameras will be located at certain traffic lights (which can be switched off if traffic police takes over the traffic, and is smart enough to determine that you have to break the red light due to an emergency, like giving way to police or ambulance).
Rumours about bikes cannot be detected by speed cameras have also been proved as rubbish. We took our test bike, a Triumph Tiger 800 and rode passed the two speed cameras and both units detected the bike barreling down the straights at 119 km/h.
The photos of cars taken by the cameras too are super clear, allowing you to recognise the driver of the vehicle, and the partner sitting next to him. If you are caught speeding while driving the car with your girlfriend, make sure they don’t send the picture to your home address or else you get another summon from the missus.
The mobile speed cameras will be operated by RTD officers and the contractors and the cameras will be re-calibrated by SIRIM every eight months.
Bear in mind that AES is under the care of RTD. Your traffic police department will have its own set of cameras and where it will place its army of speed cameras is still a big question mark.
So when you are driving down to your kampung this Hari Raya, expect to see two things – brand new speed cameras on the road side, and a turf war between the RTD and traffic police.
Whatever it is, we applaud the move but why not make the locations transparent to us rakyat. The real objective after all is to make drivers slow down at these dangerous spots, right? – Hezeri Samsuri