Following the lead of other countries, Ecuador is started to use photos of speeding drivers to impose fines and, in some cases, three-day jail terms.
Called radarfotos, the images measure a driver’s speed between two points and generate an automatic speeding ticket if the limit is violated. Near Cuenca, the first four radarfoto cameras have been set up on the Cuenca-Azogues autopista. According to Ecuador’s Transit Commission (CTE), others are in the process of being installed.
Luis Almeida, regional CTE director, said that in a one-week test of the new system, between October 11 and October 19, 738 incidents of speeding were recorded on the autopista. Those drivers were not fined but since October 21, CTE has been delivering tickets to offenders by e-mail. In the first day of operation, the new system delivered 20 tickets.
The radarfotos measure speed 500 meters before a vehicle passes the camera and 500 meters after it passes, capturing an image of the license plate in the process. In most cases, the ticket arrives in the offender’s e-mail account in less than five minutes.
The radarfoto installations, located on utility poles, are solar powered.
Almeida says the new system is designed to prevent traffic accidents. “This is not to collect money for the government but to reduce the high number of accidents on highways.”
Among locations where new radarfoto equipment is being installed are the highways from Cuenca to Loja and to Guayaquil.
Fines for speeding that is not considered “dangerously excessive” are 30% of the base minimum monthly salary of $364. For excessive speeding, the penalty is three days in jail, plus the fine, and the deduction of driver’s license points.
In cases of excessive speeding, the CTE e-mail informs the offender that transit officers are en route to arrest him or her and says that if the offender is not at home, to report to the traffic jail immediately.