NSW Is The Only State With Speed Camera Warning Signs – And They Might Be Getting The Chop

NSW Is The Only State With Speed Camera Warning Signs – And They Might Be Getting The Chop
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Speed camera warning signs could soon become a thing of the past after advice provided to Transport for NSW suggested more lives could be saved without having them. Here’s what we know.

Wait, what’s happening with speed camera warning signs?

NSW’s transport minister Andrew Constance has told 7News he’s considering doing away with speed camera warning signs in NSW, the only state in Australia to still have them.

“The number of people being injured is ridiculous and yet we’re the only Australian state that has this signage,” MP Constance told 7News.

“People need to understand they can be caught anywhere on the road network at any time doing the wrong thing. We want people to experience the same threat as the random breath test.”

It’s potentially in response to an audit provided by Auditor-General for New South Wales, Margaret Crawford, which said the inclusion of warning signs “has made it harder to identify and maintain suitable MSCs [mobile speed camera] locations, and impeded their use for enforcement in both traffic directions and in school zones.”

“A key aspect of providing an effective general network deterrence is creating a perception that speeding can be enforced anywhere at any time. Multiple warning signs have increased compliance at the sites and locations that MSCs currently operate but reduced the likelihood of achieving a general network deterrence — the main purpose of MSCs,” Crawford’s report reads.

“This is because the use of signs reduces the perceived risk of detection, thereby limiting the ability of MSCs to moderate driver behaviour at other locations.”

For most people, however, a warning sign serves as a reminder to check your speed and correct it if it’s nearing or over the legal limit. It’s prompted many to consider the move as a cash grab to generate more revenue in fines and the NRMA itself is not a fan of the proposal.

“We believe warning signs are necessary and essential… [they] act as a crucial education tool to alert motorists that they’re driving in dangerous locations,” NRMA spokesperson, Peter Khoury, told the press on 4 November.

“There’s no point getting a fine in the mail two weeks later if the whole purpose is to slow people down in these locations. The argument that people slow down then speed up again doesn’t hold weight. The government this year will collect around $200 million from these fixed and mobile cameras alone.”

The NRMA pointed to Victoria’s death toll in roads, which doesn’t have any warning signs, as being up 33.5 per cent this year.

At the end of 2017, there were 139 speed cameras across 110 locations in NSW and 191 red light cameras at 171 intersections with more to be installed throughout the remainder of the year.

NSW also plans to be the first state to roll out mobile phone-detecting and there are no plans to introduce warning signs for these cameras.

So, when should I worry?

We reached out to Transport for NSW to confirm whether it was intending to remove warning signs in the near future and it denied any immediate plans.

“The NSW Government has a strong road safety record and that will continue to be the case. There has been no change to Government policy,” a spokesperson told us.

It’s understood the warning signs will be staying for now as any move to remove them from NSW roads would have to determined by the state government’s Cabinet and then passed through the appropriate state laws.

While this might leave you feeling at ease for now, phone-detecting cameras, due to be rolled out in the state before the end of the year, won’t come with warning signs.

Other States Are Now Keen On NSW's Phone Detecting Cameras

The NSW Government recently announced it was introducing phone-detection cameras around the state after a successful trial earlier in 2019. The new technology uses AI to detect drivers using their phones or other touch-enabled devices illegally. Unlike speed cameras, signs won't warn you if one is in the area. Lifehacker Australia decided to see if any other states were considering similar measures and it turns out they might be.

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Where do the fines go?

The concern for many reading the news is that this is an attempt to increase revenue for the state government without much concern for the safety aspect. It’s understood fines received from fixed and mobile speed and red light cameras are given to the Community Road Safety Fund. This pool of money used to fund education programs for promoting or improving road safety as well as undertaking reviews of state programs related to it.

Fines issued by police officers go into the regular government consolidated fund.

PSA: NSW Average Speed Cameras Only Track Heavy Vehicles

Ever driven past an average speed camera and stressed that it had caught you going just a little too fast? Turns out you never actually had to worry about it at all.

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    • Queensland absolutely has them. They’re everywhere. M1, M3, A3, existing the Airportlink tunnel… white signs with blue/white check borders, warning that speed cameras are in operation in this area.

      Where’d the advice come from that this was NSW-only?

      • I think this article was more about warning signs that you are about to reach an actual speed camera, not the generic warnings that they exist (which we also have in TAS but not as bad as you described.).

        • Nope, I drive past this exact sort of “No really, there’s a permanent speed camera RIGHT HERE” sign every day on my way to work. In Queensland.

          Someone’s been misinformed.

      • There are two types of QLD ones. Fixed camera warnings which are (I believe) still mandatory. They’re the ones you see on the way to the airport for example. And “speed cameras used in this area” which apply to mobiles, which don’t really mean anything, since mobile speed cameras can basically be used anywhere at any time.

        They also used to have to put a sign *before* the speed camera but I’m pretty sure that requirement got removed some time ago. And the police dodgied that rule anyway, with signs hidden behind obstructions, two foot in front of the camera van, or even *behind* the van. Rendering the “warning” useless.

        I’m all for reasonable use of speed cameras. I don’t mind them picking up people in school zones for any speed over the limit since there is a clear and real risk. Similarly, if you set them for a fair amount over the limit, like 115+ in a 100 zone.

        But I dislike them when they set them up in a low impact zone and set the limit to something low like 6k over the speed limit. Getting booked in a deserted industrial estate at 8pm on a Tuesday night for 66 in a 60 zone is revenue raising. Getting booked at 110 on the highway in a 100 zone on a quiet day is revenue raising.

        I’d actually like to see more of the smiley face signs like you get at roadworks. The ones that check your speed and tell you you’re speeding without fining you. Gives you a chance to go “oops better slow down” if it’s a mistake. Heck I’d love to see them implement more of them and then throw a real speed camera (or cop) a couple minutes down the road. If you get caught by the real speed trap after the warning you deserve it.

        I’d also love to see more dynamic speed zones (like school zones) where the speed limit changes based on conditions and/or time of day. We have a few roads like that (the Gateway motorway comes to mind) and it’s terrific. In peak hour the limit drops but other times the signs go back up.

        • You say ‘revenue raising’ like it’s a bad thing.

          If people want to avoid fines they drive at the limit or under. If they don’t… they either get enough fines that they learn to control their behaviour more often (not just when it’s obvious they’ll get caught) or they eventually lose their licence.

          I don’t see a down-side to any of that.

  • “The argument that people slow down then speed up again doesn’t hold weight…”
    …unless you are actually a driver who drives with other motorists in those areas and watches everyone do exactly that. Some shit you just can’t tell when you’re being chauffeured everywhere, I guess?

    So, when should I worry?
    Don’t speed. Then you never have to worry.
    Fuck me…

    • It always puzzles me that people claim speed cameras are just there for revenue raising. Yet never seem to realize you can easily stop that revenue by not speeding.

      Speeding fines are a tax on the stupid. Its the one tax I’m okay with.

      • Yeah, sure the reputable analysts might say that reducing speed reduces fatalities, and the cops might say it’s because they’re sick of waking up to haunting screams of the innocents they had to scrape off the asphalt, but hardworking, honest lawbreakers know that it’s all about being party poopers and hitting the hip-pockets of those too true-blue to pay attention to authority or what’s best for society.

        And they KNOW that’s the case, because they found some statistic somewhere that found that the number of collisions doesn’t decrease much with reduced speed, only lethality. So there’s EVIDENCE that reducing speed just doesn’t work!

        Not to mention that a fine in the mail doesn’t change behaviour either, until you’re on your last points, or after that when you’re driving with a suspended licence and have to avoid getting caught in case it means you go to jail.

        Fuck I hate those people.

      • The problem is I’ve actually talked to a cop friend who flat out told me that they had quotas they were expected to fill. If they didn’t hand out enough tickets they apparently weren’t trying hard enough. If it got to the end of the month/quarter and they were behind then the fines would get stricter and stricter. Might start the month booking people for 10 over, by the end they’d be booking people for 4 over.

        • Might start the month booking people for 10 over, by the end they’d be booking people for 4 over.

          My point still stands. Don’t speed you won’t be caught. Doesn’t matter if you are over by 4 or by 10. You are still speeding.

          It’s the easiest tax to avoid.

          • Doesn’t not make it revenue raising. If it weren’t they wouldn’t have an arbitrary quota that they had to fill. “You got no speeders? Awesome. People are doing well.” as opposed to “Go back out there and find someone to ticket”.

          • Really, anyone who goes over is effectively donating. I struggle to think why they might be upset – they’ve opted in to assist with increasing revenue.

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