Speed cameras target North Coast
THE State Government’s mobile speed camera media campaign hit overdrive yesterday as the RTA rolled out six new high-tech units for deployment at any of 151 ‘black spot’ locations across NSW.
The eight North Coast locations listed include Ballina, Broadwater/Wardell and Woodburn/Tabbimoble on the Pacific Highway, and two Bruxner Highway locations in Lismore. Two other Pacific Highway locations are listed at Coffs Harbour and one at Tweed Heads.
The RTA said the locations were based on criteria developed by its road safety centre, in consultation with NSW Police and the NRMA. Reducing the road toll, rather than raising revenue, remained the primary objective.
While the RTA’s director of regulatory services, Peter Wells, told The Northern Star there was a ‘heavy emphasis on high visibility’, the exact deployment of the unmarked units would remain secret.
He could not confirm when they might appear on the North Coast, nor for how long they would remain in the region, but did say once deployed they would remain in each location for three hours.
The privately-operated cameras are installed in unmanned white Ford Territory cars and are capable of catching up to six cars a second.
They are bi-directional and capable of snapping speeding cars in up to six lanes.
The cameras will use an infra-red flash so drivers will not be aware they’ve being caught until they receive a notice up to six weeks later – though small signs will be erected notifying drivers their speed was checked.
NSW Roads Minister David Borger said the key rationalisation for the new cameras was an initial 25 per cent fall in Queensland and Victorian casualty crashes following the introduction of mobile cameras in those states.
However, local frontline police have questioned that, with the latest statistics showing a subsequent 13pc rise in Victorian road fatalities. “If it’s not about revenue why don’t they just deduct points,” one said.
While the NRMA has previously questioned the effectiveness of mobile cameras in changing driver behaviour due to the time lag between offence and notification, president Wendy Machin told The Northern Star they were prepared to see the cameras trialled following the evidence from other states.
This was despite significant cynical feedback through its call centres and head office.
“The RTA is working on a fear factor, but if that stops speeding and reduces the road toll then that’s a good thing,” she said.
“We acknowledge the initial results in Victoria weren’t sustained, but we decided they should be given a chance and we will review it in 12 months.”
The NSW Police Association’s Northern Region executive member, Tony King, said the RTA cameras could assist drivers to change their behaviour, but there was no substitute for police on the roads.
“Nothing is more effective than high visibility Highway Patrol police to prevent and detect traffic offences, prevent accidents and reduce deaths our roads,” he said.
Meanwhile, social networking websites report motorists are signing up in droves for a free GPS-based alert software called Trapster that identifies police mobile cameras, speed cameras and random breath testing units.