Despite their unpopularity with motorists, GAM said there’s clear evidence the recent installment of 22 new traffic cameras around Amman is making the capital’s roads safer.
In their first day of operation last month, the new cameras, which include five red light cameras, seven for speed control, and 10 roving speed control cameras, registered a combined total of 3,400 traffic violations. But within a week, this number had fallen to an average of 2,500 violations per day.
“The lower number of violations since we installed the new cameras is of itself evidence that they help,” said Ayman Smadi, executive director of GAM’s Transport and Traffic Department.
While the number of violations registered appears high, Smadi said the current camera locations experience high traffic volumes, in some cases up to 100,000 vehicles per day. These locations, he explained, were targeted as they had been identified as either black spots or areas with chronic traffic violations.
Smadi stressed that the installation of the new traffic cameras wasn’t aimed at raising revenue for GAM but at deterring dangerous driving. “If the idea was revenue generation we would be more covert,” said Smadi, adding that the camera locations are marked with warning signs to encourage drivers to adhere to the road rules.
Smadi also explained that GAM did not begin issuing fines until two weeks after the cameras were installed, despite recording infringements during this time.
While traffic fines are seen by GAM as a way to make Amman’s roads safer, Smadi said that they are just one ingredient in the overall system that should include raising awareness as well as a points deduction scheme for driving licenses. “The points system is quite successful in many countries and we do support such a policy,” he said. Yet he noted that such a policy decision is outside of GAM’s domain.
Last year, 650,000 violations were recorded by traffic cameras, resulting in fines to the value of approximately JD10 to 15 million. The 22 new cameras bring the total number of traffic cameras in Amman to 45.