Norway data errors may have caused incorrect traffic convictions

An issue with software at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens vegvesen, NPRA) may have resulted in police and prosecuting authorities receiving incorrect information in legal cases.

Norway data errors may have caused incorrect traffic convictions
Photo: Depositphotos

The Director of Public Prosecutions (Riksadvokat) has ordered reports and statements in which the NPRA used the Crashcube software to no longer be used as evidence in cases, with immediate effect,TV2 reports.

The software is used to extract various types of data from vehicles that have been involved in road traffic accidents.

The order from the national public prosecutor comes after criminal investigation agency Kripos discovered the software error in the tool. The Director of Public Prosecutions was made aware of the discovery in December.

The presumed incorrect information has provided the basis for NPRA reports and statements which may have been issued in criminal cases.

Settled criminal cases in which convictions may have been made on incorrect factual bases must also be identified, the order states.

Preliminary estimates indicate around 10 criminal cases may be affected, according to the TV2 report.

NPRA told the broadcaster that it began using Crashcube in early 2017 and was made aware that of “weaknesses” in the software by Kripos in May 2019, when its use was suspended.

The agency said it was is aware of two cases in which Crashcube has been used in analytical work in connection with traffic accidents. In these cases, the NPRA has notified the police that they used the tool for legal proceedings. It is now investigating whether the tool was used in other reports.

READ ALSO: Why Norway is warning drivers about 'egg-shaped' bends

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Why the cost of toll roads in Norway’s major cities could increase

The cost of using roads in Norway's biggest cities could increase due to the governemnt changing the rules for the funding it gives local authorities to spend on transport and tolls.

Why the cost of toll roads in Norway’s major cities could increase

Norway’s government has changed an agreement on local transport funding introduced under the previous administration, public broadcaster NRK reports.   

As a result, money earmarked for reducing tolls or freezing prices in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, and Trondheim can now be spent elsewhere. 

The government has changed the existing agreement on transport funding, which was introduced due to toll roads being a heated topic during the 2019 municipal election, to allow local authorities to increase the cost of using roads to fund other transport improvements. 

“The change means that local authorities will have greater freedom to adjust toll rates. But it must be assessed in each individual case whether local changes to the toll system will require a new submission to the Storting,” the Ministry of Transport and Communications told NRK. 

Essentially the change means that the central government contribution to urban growth planning in cities used for keeping toll road prices down has been axed. 

This means that Norway’s big cities will have around 3.7 billion collectively over the next seven years that had been allocated to reduce tolls that can now be spent on other transport projects. 

However, local councils will have to agree on how the money should be spent and whether they want to increase tolls or not. 

“If local governing authorities want to change the use of the grant funds, it must be dealt with locally politically,” the Ministry of Transport and Communications said. 

Toll prices could go up from next year if local authorities choose to raise prices, according to the ministry. Newspaper Bergens Tidende reported in June that toll rates in Bergen would return to 2020 levels. In Oslo, local politicians have signalled that they are unwilling to decrease the cost of using toll roads.