Well, forget the need for speed, because the days of carefree bombing down the tarmac are soon to be over. The upcoming Automated Enforcement System (AES) might be up and running by late August, according to reports, and there’s no escaping this one.

The system, utilising around 800 fixed and 500 portable speedtrap cameras from two different manufacturers, is set to ‘monitor’ traffic in 831 “black spot” areas on highways in addition to stretches of state and federal roads. These locations have been identified by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) as having the highest number of fatal accidents, the reports add.

Around 200 of the fixed speedtrap cameras are to be located at traffic light junctions, some of these in housing areas. From a portable speedtrap camera point of view, the relevant radar-based units from both manufacturers are supposedly able to detect vehicles anywhere across a four-lane carriageway up to 250 km/h (one of the systems claims 300 km/h).

All the cameras – which have a 11MP resolution – will be able to record both still image and video footage of vehicles committing speed-related offences, and are connected via a broadband link to the respective system’s headquarters. Once captured, the photographic evidence is then passed on to the JPJ, which will verify it, and a fine is then issued to traffic offenders. As for calibration, word has it that SIRIM will recalibrate the cams every eight months.

The utilisation of two separate systems means that there are two distinct contractors, in this case Beta Tegap – which will run gear from Australian-based Redflex Traffic Systems – and ATES, which will operate equipment from German company Jenoptik Robot. Beta Tegap will run the AES for the southern region, while ATES will be responsible for the rest of the country, including Sabah and Sarawak.

According to another report, the cost of installing and operating the cameras will be borne by the two companies, with an estimated RM300 to RM400 million being bandied to get the AES going. Both companies will be entitled to a share of the revenue collected from the fines to offset operational costs and generate returns, with revenue sharing done across a three-tier model.

First, both operators will get RM16 from each valid summons in which the fine is collected, not on how many photographs are snapped (!), capped at five million summonses. Go past that number, and the second tier sees the companies taking 50% of the amount paid in fines. The cap changes to an amount, set at RM270 million a year, with the government taking an equal share.

If you all persist on being generous, and take things past the RM270 million a year mark, the third tier will see both companies raking in 7.5% of the balance revenue. Of course, both companies will only get their money if offenders pay up, the report adds.

While the implementation of the AES is a positive (promoting safety always is), the question does beg as to whether police speedtrap exercises continue as is; there’s really no need to even ask why there are two separate systems in the first place, now that it’s all done and dusted. As always with topics close to us all, your comments on the matter are most welcome.