Catalan town rebels against overeager speed cameras

Supplier company receives 30 percent of every fine levied on motorists on highway with low accident rate

A speed gun situated at the edge of the town of Montgat.
A speed gun situated at the edge of the town of Montgat.Toni Ferragut

Motorists in the Catalan municipality of Montgat have launched a campaign to have several speed cameras removed from the area due to the zeal with which they are trapping drivers on the 50km/h limited highway.

Residents have complained of receiving multiple fines through the system, which also results in license points being docked: running a red light incurs a fine of 200 euros and four points, but locals have said the cameras are triggered even when the lights are amber.

The cameras were set up last year to "make the road calmer," according to local mayor Francesc Garcia Arrocha, in a deal worth almost a million euros with private company Bilbomática. But the Catalan road safety authority states that there has been only one serious accident on the highway in the last three years, and no fatalities.

The local authority itself faces a fine for "unjustifiably" removing the machinery, which carries a four-year contract. "The company would have to be compensated," tax official Juan Carlos Esgueva said.

For every fine levied, Bilbomática receives 30 percent and the local council 70 percent of the total amount.

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