A traffic camera at the Sianglan section of Provincial Highway No. 9 has photographed an average of 1,500 speeding drivers a month, resulting in NT$20 million (US$690,000) in annual revenue for Taitung County, officials said.
According to a salesperson who works at a convenience store across from the Taitung County Government building, about half of the traffic tickets paid at the store are attributable to the camera in Sianglan (香蘭). The store processes more than 10 traffic tickets a month from that particular camera, the salesperson said.
The county’s police bureau said that because the Sianglan section of the highway is particularly wide and straight, drivers are more likely to experience a lapse of concentration on it. Over the past five days, two people have been killed in separate accidents on that section of the highway, the bureau added.
The establishment of a 70kph speed limit and the installation of the traffic camera were part of an effort to improve safety.
The measures have also resulted in an average of 1,500 tickets being issued a month, each for NT$1,800. The speeding tickets have become a major source of annual revenue — about NT$500 million — and are second only to licenses for sandstone mining.
However, drivers appear to view the traffic camera as a menace, as evidenced by an average of three acts of vandalism a month.
Angry drivers caught speeding used to vent their anger by breaking the glass on the camera, but with it now protected by bulletproof glass, they have resorted to spray painting or taping over the lens, local police said.
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