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by Tim Beissmann

The New South Wales Government’s first annual review into the performance of the state’s speed cameras has found the devices are exceedingly effective at reducing fatalities and crashes on our roads.

The number of fatalities in the areas around fixed speed cameras decreased by 87 per cent and the number of crashes was reduced by 38 per cent, according to data published in a report by the NSW Centre for Road Safety.

In the five years before the fixed cameras were installed there were 3959 crashes within 500 metres of the cameras, 2124 injuries and 61 fatalities, while in the current five-year period there have been 2451 crashes, 1344 injuries and just eight fatalities.

Of the 97 fixed speed cameras reviewed in the study, 92 were found to be effective. The report says the five ineffective cameras – positioned on the Northern Distributor, Corrimal; New South Head Rd, Edgecliff; Pacific Hwy, Hungry Head; and the New England Hwy, Kootingal and Lochinvar – will now be subjected to “comprehensive field reviews”, and may be removed if they are found not to be delivering the expected safety benefits.

A total of 313,849 infringement notices were issues to drivers captured by fixed speed cameras last year resulting in $51.32 million revenue, which represented a reduction of 60,085 infringements and $6.06 million less revenue.

The data also revealed the number of drivers caught speeding by fixed cameras reduced over time, suggesting that the presence of cameras encourages people to slow down.

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A review of the state’s 91 intersections fitted with red-light speed cameras found a 21 per cent reduction in crashes and a 26 per cent drop in casualties at these locations compared with a five-year period prior to their installation.

An analysis of NSW mobile speed camera program from August 2011 found that in the first year of operation the program contributed to a 19 per cent reduction in fatalities across NSW, saving an estimated 84 lives and around $490 million for the community.

The study revealed the cameras proved effective at reducing the number of speeding drivers and fatalities in all speed zones except 100km/h zones, where there was an increase in the number of speed-related crashes and fatalities. The report suggests the results support an added focus on 100km/h zones in future mobile speed camera operations.

The coming 12 months will see the rollout of an expanded mobile speed camera program across the state, increasing from six to approximately 45 vehicles operating at around 2500 locations for 7000 hours per month.

The number of intersections with red-light speed cameras will also more than double from 91 to 200 by the end of 2014.

There will also be an increase to the number and size of signs alerting drivers to the presence of mobile and red-light speed cameras in a further attempt to reduce the number of speeding drivers.




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