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by Tim Beissmann

Victoria’s speed cameras could be in for a similar shake-up to those in New South Wales, with the state’s Auditor-General set to deliver an audit into the effectiveness of its fixed cameras to Parliament in late August.

As we reported yesterday, 38 of NSW’s 141 fixed speed cameras were switched off yesterday morning after an audit by NSW Auditor-General Peter Achterstraat found they had no significant impact on road safety.

Victorian Auditor-General Des Pearson is currently preparing a report examining the location of the state’s 171 fixed speed cameras, at the demand of Victorian Police Minister Peter Ryan.

The report is also expected to support the introduction of a Victorian speed camera commissioner, who would be responsible for supervising the cameras and ensuring their primary goal was to improve road safety.

Although NSW now has just 103 operational fixed speed cameras, the RTA has warned drivers should not become complacent. It insisted other speed traps and mobile camera vans would continue to operate to catch speeding drivers.

NSW Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay, said the Auditor-General’s report revealed some cameras had done little to deter speeding drivers or reduce crashes.

One camera in a school zone on the Great Western Highway in Parramatta has collected $9.5 million in fines over four years, according to a News Ltd report.

“For some camera locations the number of crashes did not drop, so we need to be looking at other measures,” Mr Gay said.

“This could include alternative treatments such as road safety upgrades.”

Overall, the audit found road fatalities decreased by 67 per cent and injuries decreased by 26 per cent in the three years following the implementation of fixed speed cameras in NSW.

Victorian Transport Accident Commission CEO Janet Dore said she fully supported Victoria’s current speed camera placement.

“It cannot be denied that the findings from the NSW report will not help us enhance the Victorian community’s belief in our state’s speed camera program,” Ms Dore said, as reported by News Ltd.

“But since speed cameras were introduced here in the late 1980s our road toll has more than halved, and the level of serious injuries suffered has reduced significantly.”

Public backlash to speed cameras as revenue raisers has led to their removal in a number of countries around the world.

Residents of Hawaii famously forced the removal of speed limit enforcement vans in 2002, just months after the system was introduced.

A number of counties in the UK have also switched off their cameras in recent times. Swindon – the first town in Britain to scrap its cameras back in July 2009 – has actually reported a small reduction in crashes and fatalities without speed cameras.




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