RTA defends decision on point-to-point cameras

NSW RTA defends plan to introduce point-to-point speed cameras in the state, saying the initiative will inevitably save lives

The New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) has defended its plan to introduce point-to-point speed cameras in the state, saying the initiative has been on the agenda for a long time and will inevitably save lives.

A spokesperson for the NSW Minister of Roads Michael Daley told ATN that point-to-point cameras will also help protect heavy vehicle drivers from "unscrupulous operators" that put "unreasonable and impossible" demands on long-haul truck drivers.

"Experts say point-to-point speed cameras are one way of making sure truck drivers stick to the speed limit on our rural and regional roads," the spokesperson says.

The plan, which came to light yesterday, was met with severe criticism from the Australian Trucking Association, which claims the proposal to target only truck drivers using the system is unfair and that an increased police presence on the roads would do a better job.

The ATA used the latest accident research to show that 77.5 percent of speed-related truck crashes are caused by drivers trying to go around corners or roundabouts too fast.

But the RTA has hit back and says the accidents mentioned in the report refer mostly to "property loss crashes, rather than crashes that cause death or injury".

"The [ATA’S] report says their statistics are about any truck crash which costs the insurer more than $50,000 at a time.

"The NSW Government, while concerned about property loss, is more concerned about injuries and loss of life on our roads," the spokesperson says.

According to the RTA, heavy vehicles make up less than 3 percent of vehicles on the road but are involved in almost 20 percent of fatal crashes.

"Safety research shows that illegal speeding by trucks; trucks’ driving over the actual speed limit is a real cause of death and injury.

"In October 2007, the National Transport Commission produced a report which advised all of Australia’s governments that if all heavy vehicles compiled with speed limits, a 20 percent reduction in heavy vehicle crashes could be expected," the spokesperson says.

The RTA says it is important everyone in the industry is made accountable for managing speed and fatigue and not just the drivers and say the introduction of point-to-point cameras will help to achieve this.

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