The Directorate General of Traffic in Spain, the DGT, has purchased an additional 16 new speed detecting radar devices from the Spanish company Saima Seguridad, for a total of 1.1 million euro.

The purchase was published in the official state bulletin on Monday and, according to the award documentation, is for the purchase of the devices that can be used in both fixed and, more importantly, mobile operations.

The director general of traffic, María Seguí, has previously announced the intention to focus on more mobile speed traps, as “fixed speed cameras are old”, whereas the “evolution is towards mobile radar”, which can be used on “the back roads on which many more accidents occur”.

Each radar unit costs 72,016 euro and is of the style known as láser barrera. Typically, the device has two main elements; one part emits two parallel laser beams across the road, from the unit, which are spaced at 40 centimetres apart. A vehicle passing the unit first breaks the first beam and then the second, that allows the unit to calculate the speed as the beams are at a fixed distance. As a double check, the unit also calculates when the two beams are recovered; working out the time between both beams being restored once again. The unit and calculation can calculate within a 1% margin of error.

Once satisfied that the vehicle has travelled beyond the permitted speed for the road, the second element then takes over and takes two photographs the offending vehicle from behind, which can take place at night, given the built in flash. The photographs can either be taken manually or automatically by the system. This type of unit typically only takes the picture from the rear of the vehicle, as the offending car must have activated the sensors in order to qualify for a sanction.

There are currently around 850 fixed speed cameras on the roads of Spain, of which 550 are under the control of the DGT, after Catalonia and the Basque Country took over the jurisdiction of traffic management, taking control of their 240 and 60 respective cameras. In addition to that, the Guardia Civil traffic department also have around 250 mobile radar detectors, not forgetting their airborne contingent known as Pegasus.

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