Speed cameras doing their job, report finds

There are fewer deaths on New South Wales roads following the instalment of speed cameras, according to government review

Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | July 18, 2012

There are fewer deaths on New South Wales roads following the instalment of speed cameras, according to a new report, which cites a drop in fatalities and crashes.

The first annual review of speed cameras across the state says fatalities at locations with fixed speed cameras dropped by 87 percent, with crashes declining by 38 percent.

Eighty-eight of the 97 fixed speed cameras in New South Wales have led to a reduction of deaths and injuries in the past five years compared with the five years before they were installed, the report says.

The remaining nine cameras were identified for further review, with four found to be effective. The Centre for Road Safety will now subject the other five units to a field review and may be removed or relocated, the government says.

The five cameras are located at Corrimal, Hungry Head, Kootingal, Lochinvar and Edgecliff. Two of the units are on the New England Highway, while another one is on the Pacific Highway.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay says cameras that fail to offer a safety benefit will be removed.

"We’re determined to ensure speed cameras are only in locations where they have a proven road safety benefit and they are not simply there as revenue raisers," Gay says.

While Gay says it is too early to evaluate point-to-point speed cameras, preliminary indications suggest there is a high level of compliance.

"While the results are generally positive, the results in the 100 km/h zones revealed there was an increase in speeding compared to the period 2008-2010," he says.

Speeding has been identified as the number one cause of death, with 376 people being killed in 2011. The lowest figure was recorded in 2008 (374 deaths).

Some 16,544 infringement notices were issued by mobile speed cameras in 2011, resulting in revenue of $2.58 million.

The report goes on to say red light speed cameras, which are located across 91 intersections in the state, have reduced crashes by 21 percent and seen the fatality rate drop by 26 percent.

They have also brought in $42.08 million through 156,790 infringements, the report adds.

Fixed speed cameras led to 313,849 infringements being issued, with total fine revenue of $51.32 million.

The mobile speed camera program is set to continue, according to the report, with 45 marked vehicles expected to operate for 7,000 enforcement hours each month at around 2,500 locations.

"Given the high proportion of speed-related crashes occurring on high speed roads, there will be a greater focus on deploying mobile speed cameras to high speed regional and rural roads to further drive down the road toll," the report says.

Motoring group NRMA has welcomed the review, calling on the government to remove cameras which do not improve safety.

"The government should remove the cameras from these locations if there is no road safety benefit," NRMA CEO Tony Stuart says.

He has praised the government for releasing the results of the audit.

"The NRMA has been campaigning on this issue for some time because we believe the community should feel confident that these cameras are there to save lives and not raise revenue," Stuart says.

"We are pleased that the money collected from these cameras will be put back into road safety measures such as more education and a more visible police presence on our roads."

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