Newcastle Herald - Thursday 17 February 2005

Costa put in picture over fines

TWO-THIRDS of motorists caught speeding in NSW will pay lower fines as part of a move to convince the public that speed cameras are more for safety than raising money.

From the end of March, fines for people caught travelling by up to 15 kmh over the limit will be reduced from $130 to $75, but the offence will attract an extra demerit point, Roads Minister Michael Costa said yesterday.

The State Government will also hold a road users' summit next month to review speed limits, traffic movements, school zones and speed camera locations, and consider harsher penalties for offences that cause driver frustration.

Mr Costa said he was reducing fines for low-level speeding to convince a sceptical public that speed cameras really were about road safety.

"I think it's important that we focus on the question of road safety," he said.

"I know there's been a public perception that some of our activity has been focused on revenue-raising. I want to end that once and for all."

Mr Costa said penalties issued to drivers caught doing 0-15 kmh above the speed limit made up two-thirds of all speeding fines in NSW.

Of the 551,568 speeding infringements issued in 2003, 368,099 were for offences within the 0-15 kmh category.

Roads and Traffic Authority chief executive Paul Forward said motorists' fear of losing demerit points should lead to a drop in the number of low-level speeding infringements.

The NRMA said it was "delighted" with the plans to review the state's roads and traffic systems, and supported the reduction in fines.

The Pedestrian Council of Australia praised the moves but said Mr Costa had failed to consult. AAP

Editorial, Page 8
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