The NSW Government will soon adopt the sneaky tactics used by other states – using anonymous-looking unmarked speed camera cars parked on the side of the road, and removing the bold reflective signage on some of its existing vehicles.
In November 2020, authorities in NSW announced portable reflective warning signs positioned before and after mobile speed camera cars would be removed over the coming year – and the contracting company’s enforcement hours would be tripled across the state.
Now, the NSW Government is going one step further, by removing the large reflective markings on the speed camera cars.
It means the new speed camera cars will be parked on the side of the road without any warning to motorists, as is the case in Victoria.
Critics of unmarked cars say more visible mobile speed camera vehicles act as a deterrent to speeders.
The theory: drivers caught speeding past a marked speed camera car clearly aren’t paying proper attention to the road and its surrounds.
However, supporters of the plan to strip speed camera cars of their markings, say the move to anonymous unmarked vehicles is designed to trick motorists into thinking any parked cars could be a speed trap.
While the NSW Government was more open about the removal of the portable speed camera warning signs, it buried the news about the markings on speed camera cars in the latest road toll announcement.
After highlighting the reduction in the road toll in 2020 due in part to a fall in traffic numbers amid COVID-19 travel restrictions, the NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance was quoted in a press release as saying the government would be “expanding the mobile speed camera program and removing markings from some of the vehicles so people know they can be caught anywhere, anytime.”
It is unclear how many of the 45 speed camera cars in NSW will be stripped of their reflective markings.
However, the NSW government initially said the mobile speed camera warning signs would disappear over the next year. In reality the signs were removed almost overnight. No speed camera cars have been seen since with the warning signs.
Although NSW posted its lowest road toll in 97 years in 2020, the government said “Speeding remains the leading contributor to fatal crashes and speed-related fatalities rose to 47 per cent of the total road toll last year.”