New front on speed - Cameras modified


Sunday 8 December 2002

By transport writer ROD SMITH

THE NSW Roads and Traffic Authority will modify at least 15 of its fixed-base speed cameras so that they can capture vehicles travelling in both directions.

At present, the cameras only photograph the rear numberplates of vehicles.

The change is designed to cut the NSW road toll which, at the middle of last week, stood at 534 for the calendar year - 56 more than last year.

The move, which comes into force in the new year. will effectively create an extra 15 speed cameras - and thousands of extra dollars in revenue.

The RTA has not ruled out modifying more of the almost 100 fixed cameras it operates around the State.

The modifications end an RTA policy of not photographing front numberplates because of concerns for privacy. However, the RTA is now satisfied bus lane and red-light cameras that concentrate on the front of vehicles do not compromise privacy.

The Pedestrian Council of Australia has lobbied for the change for more than a year.
"It has permitted an enormous number of people to get away with breaking the law," said spokesperson Harold Scruby.

He said the change reinforced the PCA's long-term campaign for stiffer penalties for defacing or obstructing numberplates.

"We won't remain silent until the penalties for defacing a number plate are the same as the maximum penalty for being caught by a speed cam era," Mr Scruby said.
"It's now at epidemic proportions."

At present, the penalty for defacement is about $74.

The speed camera update follows last week's declaration of tough new road penalties.

These include two demerit points for speeding up to 15km/h above the speed limit, double the existing penalty.

There's also an increase in licence suspension periods.

Speeds of 31-45km/h above the limit will now attract from one to three months, and above 45km/h, from three to six months.

An automatic one month licence suspension applies to anyone travelling at 130km/h.