Keneally defends speed cameras as TWU backs demerits reform

NSW Government defends use of mobile speed cameras, as TWU backs Premier Kristina Keneally's decision to reform demerit points system

By Brad Gardner | November 24, 2010

The NSW Government has defended the use of mobile speed cameras, as the trucking union backs Premier Kristina Keneally’s decision to reform the demerit points system.

Keneally claims the cameras are responsible for reducing the number of accidents on NSW roads and that they act as deterrence to motorists from speeding.

The Government yesterday announced it would begin marking mobile speed cameras and erecting warning signs to warn motorists when they’re approaching a detection unit.

"We received advice from the Roads and Traffic Authority last year and we know that 46 percent of the deaths on our roads are as a result of speeding," Keneally says.

"In other jurisdictions in Australia where these cameras have been installed there has been a 25 percent reduction in deaths on the roads…Mobile speed cameras are part of our road safety enforcement system."

The changes will be introduced alongside an increase in demerit points for truck drivers from 12 to 14. The Government will also review the policy of denying magistrates the power to waive points in extenuating circumstances.

Courts can currently find someone guilty but waive fines. However, demerit points are always applied if an offender is guilty or convicted of a driving offence.

The Transport Workers Union yesterday hailed the move as a "landmark victory" for truck drivers.

"We have been fighting for extra points for heavy vehicle drivers for 30 years, so today is a landmark victory for our members across the state," NSW TWU Secretary Wayne Forno says.

"This takes into account the skill and experience of professional drivers and the fact they are in a unique situation where the road is their workplace, often for in excess of 62 hours per week."

NSW will next year increase the number of mobile speed camera units so that there are enough to record 12,200 hours of footage a month.

A working group made up of the NRMA, the Law Society and road safety experts will review the demerit points policy and make recommendations by February next year.

The review team will also look at automatic demerit points for drink driving offences similar to Victoria, hardship provisions for people who have their licence suspended and alternatives to demerit points such as driver education courses.

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