Pedestrian Council of Australia

Thursday 4 January 2007

Speed Camera Scandal

FoI Data Prove NSW Speed Camera System Must Become Covert

Feather-Bedding Police Union and Obsequious NSW Government Delaying Road Safety Initiatives Which Could Save Countless Lives and Limbs

The Chairman of the PCA, Harold Scruby said: “An FoI recently obtained by the PCA (copy attached) has demonstrated conclusively that the NSW Government must move immediately to a covert system of speed camera enforcement, as in Victoria.  The data prove that under the NSW overt Static and Mobile Speed Camera operations, motorists are aware of their locations and very few are caught at speeds exceeding 30 kmh over the limit.  It’s known as ‘site-learning’. Conversely, under the covert Radar/Traffic/Lidar operations, police are catching a significant number of very dangerous drivers at over 30 kmh, whose behaviour can then be changed through high fines, demerit points, loss of licence, vehicle confiscation and even jail.


“At the Country Road Safety Summit in Port Macquarie in 2004, it was agreed the RTA would undertake a trial of unmarked vehicles equipped with Mobile Speed Cameras to catch speeding truck drivers. The trial was an overwhelming success.  However, instead of expanding the system, it was soon stopped by the NSW Police Association due to concerns its members might lose jobs. As a result, in NSW, highly trained and skilled police officers continue to robotically sit in their vehicles, while their Victorian counterparts are out on the beat.


“This is another scandal equivalent to the recent red-light camera debacle.  This is the same government which in 1995 committed to provide NSW with the safest roads in the world by 2000 and fewer than 500 deaths per annum.  By the end of 2006, it has still failed to meet this pledge.


Victoria, has swiftly embraced and outsourced the latest digital red-light speed camera technology and mobile speed camera operations, helping to put police back on the beat.  Its entire system became covert in the early 90s.  Victoria consistently leads Australia with the lowest per capita road toll, approaching 6.6 deaths per hundred thousand, by end November 2006, significantly less than NSW's 7.6. Mr Scruby said.


“The Australian Transport Council’s National Road Safety Action Plan for 2007 & 2008 states: ‘Improvements in speed management have generally been incremental since 2000, but in Victoria large scale integrated speed management initiatives were implemented from early 2002.  Measured travel speeds declined on many parts of the road network, not just at enforcement sites. These changes were followed by a large and sustained reduction in road deaths, particularly among vulnerable road users and in urban areas, where the effect of travel speeds was greatest.  There is evidence that improved speed management has made a major contribution to the overall improvement in road safety outcomes in Victoria.’


“In a comprehensive study published in June 2003 by the renowned Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC), it was reported: ‘Following the full implementation of the mobile speed camera program (including supporting mass media publicity), statistically significant reductions in low alcohol hour casualty crashes were found across arterial roads in Melbourne and country towns and on rural highways. This demonstrates that, the intense, covert use of speed cameras can lead to long term reductions in low alcohol hour casualty crashes across a number of road types when accompanied by high-profile publicity.’

Mr Scruby added:  “The NSW Government must immediately make the entire speed camera enforcement system covert, along with an awareness program akin to the Victorian campaign:  ‘If you speed, you will be caught, anywhere, anytime …’   It must also significantly expand and outsource the Mobile Speed Camera system to the RTA or private contractors.  The revenue must be hypothecated to allow for the continuing expansion, upgrading and maintenance of the system throughout the state.  This will also permit valuable police officers to get back on the beat, where they belong.  And significantly reduce the NSW road toll.

Contact:  Harold Scruby – (02) 9968-4555 or (0418) 110-011
This is also published at: Releases



Monash University Accident Research Centre



June 2003 - Report No. 202

Max Cameron

Amanda Delaney

Kathy Diamantopoulou

Bella Lough

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