Revenue from speeding fines in NSW has more than tripled since the state government removed warning signs from mobile speed detection cameras late last year.
A report by 9News revealed in December 2020 the state’s coffers were topped up by almost $2.5 million in speeding fines, which have tripled since the phase-out of warning signs for mobile speed camera cars.
That represents a huge increase over the same time last year, with around $400,000 in fines issued in December 2019. These figures represent fines issued exclusively by mobile speed cameras, and not fixed speed cameras or infringements issued by police.
NSW Transport Minister, Andrew Constance, confirmed in November 2020 roadside signs alerting traffic to roadside mobile speed cameras would be removed over a 12-month period, however they disappeared almost immediately.
Additionally, the 45 mobile speed camera cars used in NSW would have their hours of operation tripled, from 7000 hours per month, to 21,000 hours.
Minister Constance said at the time: “This is about changing culture and changing behaviour… No warnings signs mean you can be caught anywhere, anytime and we want that same culture around mobile speed cameras.”
However, detractors of the policy have spoken out against the revenue-raising measure, with the NRMA’s Peter Khoury stating that the removal of warning signs was counter-productive and unlikely to save lives.
“Is it a good policy? Well no, it's not. Will it save lives? Probably not,” Mr Khoury told 9News.
One defender of the policy is the Centre for Road Safety’s Bernard Carlson, who told 9News “Mobile speed cameras are meant to deliver an anywhere, anytime deterrence to people speeding.
“We don't want people to stop speeding just where the mobile speed camera is; we want them to stop speeding everywhere.”
The NSW Government stated it believed the change to the laws around mobile speed cameras would save between 34 to 43 lives per year. So far in 2021, 31 people have lost their lives on NSW roads. That compares to 32 deaths over the same period last year.
In 2020, NSW’s road toll stood at 339, down around four per cent against 2019’s 352 fatalities. Some of that decline can be attributed to COVID-19 lockdown measures which saw less cars on the road during the height of the pandemic.