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					2011/18: Are speed cameras effective?

What they said...
'I have no compunction in calling speeding fines a form of taxation because any examination of how
they work leads to that conclusion'
Paul Murray, former editor of the West Australian

'There is a causal link between speed and severity of a crash'
Victorian Auditor General's report, 2011

The issue at a glance
On October 3, 2011, it was announced that an extra 32 speed and red-light cameras would be
progressively switched on across Melbourne from the following day.
The Victorian Police Minister, Peter Ryan, noted that the Auditor-General's report released on August
31, 2011, had found Victoria's camera program reduces road trauma. Mr Ryan claimed these findings
had convinced the government of the effectiveness of speed cameras.
The decision has created controversy as speed cameras are unpopular in Victoria and some
members of the current government, when in Opposition, had suggested that these cameras were
used primarily for revenue-raising purposes.
Road traffic authorities generally support the use of speed cameras while a range of motorist lobby
groups oppose them. The cameras have received a very negative treatment from a number of media
outlets.
A debate similar to that in Victoria has occurred in New South Wales, where in July, 2011, the New
South Wales Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, ordered that 38 speed cameras across the state be
switched off immediately after an audit found that they were not improving road safety.
Despite this, the New South Wales Auditor General stated that generally, 'speed cameras change
driver behaviour and improve road safety'.

Background
(The following is an edited version of two wikipedia entries, one titled 'Traffic enforcement camera',
and the other, 'Road speed limit enforcement in Australia'. The full text of these entries can be found
at HERE and HERE)

Traffic enforcement cameras
A traffic enforcement camera (also referred to as a speed camera, red light camera, road safety
camera, road rule camera, photo radar, photo enforcement or Gatso) is an automated ticketing
machine. It may include a camera which may be mounted beside or over a road or installed in an
enforcement vehicle to detect traffic regulation violations, including speeding, vehicles going through
a red traffic light, unauthorized use of a bus lane, for recording vehicles inside a congestion charge
area.
The latest automatic number plate recognition systems can be used for the detection of average
speeds and raise concerns over loss of privacy and the potential for governments to establish mass
surveillance of vehicle movements and therefore by association also the movement of the vehicle's
owner. Vehicles owners are often required by law to identify the driver of the vehicle and a case was
taken to the European Court of Human Rights who found that the Human Rights Act 1998 was not
being breached. Some groups, such as the National Motorists Association in the USA, claim that
systems "encourage ... revenue-driven enforcement" rather than the declared objectives.

Road speed limit enforcement in Australia
Road speed limit enforcement in Australia constitutes the actions taken by the authorities to force
road users to comply with the speed limits in force on Australia's roads. Speed limit enforcement
equipment such as speed cameras and other technologies such as radar and LIDAR are widely used
by the authorities. In some regions, aircraft equipped with VASCAR devices are also used.
Fixed speed-only cameras are among the most commonly used. These cameras come in many
forms, some free standing on poles; others mounted on bridges or overhead gantries. The cameras
may consist of a box for taking photographs, as well as a smaller box for the flash, or only a single
box containing all the instruments. Recently introduced infrared cameras, do not emit a blinding flash
and can therefore be used to take front-on photographs showing the driver's face.
Most states are now starting to replace older analogue film fixed cameras with modern digital variants.
Fixed speed cameras can use Doppler RADAR or Piezo strips embedded in the road to measure a
vehicle's speed as it passes the camera.
However ANPR technology is also used to time vehicles between two or more fixed cameras that are
a known distance apart (typically at least several kilometres). The average speed is then calculated
using the formula speed = distance/time. The longer distance over which the speed is measured
prevents drivers from slowing down momentarily for a camera before speeding up again. The SAFE-
T-CAM system uses this technology, but was designed to only targets heavy vehicles. Newer ANPR
cameras in Victoria are able to target any vehicle.
Trials of mobile speed cameras began in the state of Victoria in 1985. The cameras were placed, with
warning signs, at sites with a history of frequent crashes. Although the cameras influenced traffic
speeds up to two kilometres from the site, there was no statistically significant impact on the crash
numbers found. Later warnings were removed and the effect on crash numbers appeared greater.
Mobile speed cameras were first used in New South Wales in 1991. In 1999 the authorities began to
install fixed cameras, and signs warning of their presence, at crash black spots. The government of
Western Australia started using speed cameras in 1988.

Internet information
(Please note, not all these sources are of equal status. Some of these sources, primarily those
supporting speed cameras, draw on a wide range of studies, while some of those opposing speed
cameras draw either very narrowly or selectively on supporting evidence.)

The Victorian Government's 'Speed Camera's Save Lives' is a public information site explaining the
operation of speed cameras in that states and supplying resources intended to demonstrate their
effectiveness.
This site can be accessed at http://www.camerassavelives.vic.gov.au/

On August 6, 2010, The Sydney Morning Herald published a news report from England detailing the
results of an insurance company survey which indicated that speed cameras may actually contribute
to road accidents because of the manner in which drivers behave in order to avoid them.
The full text of this report can be found at http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/speed-
cameras-cause-erratic-driving-20100806-11mct.html

In August, 2010, the West Australian government released a position paper titled, 'Effectiveness of
Speed Cameras and Use in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales'. The paper draws on
Australia-wide evidence to justify the use of speed cameras. The full text of this document can be
found at http://www.ors.wa.gov.au/Documents/speed-rscpositionpaper-speedcameras.aspx

In November, 2010, the British Royal Automobile Club Foundation conducted a review titled, 'The
Effectiveness of Speed Cameras: A review of evidence'. The review found that speed cameras were
an effective means of altering driver behaviour, reducing speed and increasing road safety. The full
text of this report can be found at
http://www.police.wa.gov.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=r%2F4Haoo1i%2FY%3D&tabid=1761

On June 22, 2011, the Sydney Morning Herald published an opinion piece by
Harold Scruby, the chairman of the Pedestrian Council of Australia Limited. The comment is titled,
'Why NSW needs more speed cameras'.
The full text of this comment can be found at http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/why-nsw-needs-
more-speed-cameras-20110622-1geye.html

In July, 2011, the New South Wales Auditor General released a report titled, 'Improving Road Safety"
Speed Cameras'. The report is generally favourable in its findings regarding speed cameras;
however, it claims that 38 of the state's speed cameras have been misplaced and so should be
removed.
The full text of this report can be found at
http://www.audit.nsw.gov.au/publications/reports/performance/2011/speed_cameras/speed_cameras.
pdf
In August, 2011, the Victorian Auditor General released a report titled, 'Road Safety Camera
Program'. The report uniformly supports the current operation of speed cameras in Victoria.
The full text of the report can be found at http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/publications/20110831-Road-
Safety-Cameras/20110831-Road-Safety-Cameras.pdf

RoadSenseOz is a public information site run by Mr Harry Brelsford. The site opposes the use of
speed cameras. Some of its arguments against speed cameras can be found at
http://www.roadsense.com.au/misleading_data.html

CarAdvice is a motorists' information site, which includes car reviews. It opposes speed cameras.
Some of its information in opposition to speed cameras can be found at
http://www.caradvice.com.au/6756/speed-doesnt-kill-its-official/

CARR (Citizens Against Road Ripoffs) is a lobby group set up to oppose what it considers inequitable
road law practices. It is highly critical of speed cameras.
A site "disclaimer" states, 'The author asserts his right to publish this information in the public interest.
No responsibility is taken for consequences resulting from using any information contained herein.'
The site's arguments against speed cameras can be accessed at
http://www.carr.org.au/traffic%20cameras.htm

Aussie Speeding Fines is a group that has been set up to help motorists combat speeding fines. On
September 13, 2007, the site published an opinion piece citing two Melbourne drivers who had
successfully challenged speed camera identifications.
The full text can be read at http://www.aussiespeedingfines.com/articles/2/1/THE-accuracy-of-mobile-
speed-cameras-is-under-assault-by-the-legal-world/Page1.html

RoadWatch is an Internet site established 'to help motorists voice their opinion on all things road-
related. The focus is often on speed cameras.' The site is generally opposed to speed cameras. It can
be accessed at http://www.roadwatch.com.au/forum/default.asp

Arguments against speed cameras
1. Speed is not a major component in accidents
Opponents of speed cameras claim that the importance of speeding as a contributory factor in road
accidents has been exaggerated.
The lobby group RoadSense, which is opposed to the general introduction of speed cameras, notes a
1994 report produced by the Queensland Government Parliamentary Travelsafe Committee. The
report is said to include the claim that 'Fatal accidents, caused solely by speed, represent 1.8% of all
accidents reported State-wide, but only 0.8% of all accidents in Brisbane.'
RoadSense then condemned motorist associations across Australia for not opposing speed cameras
on the basis of inadequate evidence that speed kills. RoadSense states, 'We have to question
whether our motoring associations were looking out for their members interests when speed camera
legislation was passed...We call on our motoring associations to question the data used for the
justification of speed cameras.'
Another motorist lobby group, CarAdvice, also opposed to speed cameras, argues similarly that
speed is not a significant contributory fact in road accidents. The group cites a 2006 United Kingdom
Department for Transport study titled Road Casualties Great Britain. The report studied 145,798 road
collisions over the previous year and stated that '"Exceeding speed limit" was attributed to 3 percent
of cars involved in accidents.'
The United Kingdom Department for Transport study also stated, 'The most common factor is failure
to look properly which contributed to 35 percent of accidents. Four of the six most frequently reported
contributory factors involved driver or rider error or reaction.'

2. Speed cameras do not affect driver behaviour positively
It has been claimed that speed cameras have little or no positive influence on driver behaviour.
The lobby group CARR (Citizens Against Road Ripoffs), which opposes speed cameras has stated,
'Like police radar traps and unmarked police cars, these cameras are very obviously revenue raisers
and do nothing whatsoever to make the roads safer. This is easy to prove by simple logic. Motorists
do not get any indication when they are booked by fixed cameras.
The infringement notices can take anywhere from three weeks to two months to arrive. Therefore
motorists have nothing to indicate that they should modify their driving practices for the often lengthy
time between the actual infringement and the arrival of the infringement notices.'
CARR elaborated its position further, giving the following hypothetical example, 'A motorist who is
booked driving over the limit by a speed camera may continue at that excessive speed, totally
oblivious to the fact that he has been booked and may very well kill a number of people in an accident
well before that infringement notice arrives to indicate that his behaviour was dangerous.'
A commentator emailing the Geelong Advertiser on February 8, 2011, shared this view. He stated,
'The key is to improve driver behaviour and ability to avoid collisions, not just fixate on penalising
speed. With no immediate obvious connection between committing a driving offence and its
punishment, the deterrent effect is virtually zero, as with "safety" cameras.'
The new Liberal Coalition government in Victoria also seems to hold the view that speed cameras
would have a greater deterrent effect if motorists knew where they were. In February 2011, the
Government began regularly publishing speed camera locations.

3. Speed cameras are often inaccurate
There have been a number of successful challenges to speed-camera-imposed fines which have
contributed to the view that speed cameras are inaccurate.
In February 2011, a magistrate upheld Leading Sen-Constable Trevor Bergman's appeal against a
$250 speeding fine, ruling that the senior constable was legally within the speed limit on the stretch of
road where he was caught. (It needs to be noted that this case did not cast doubt on the accuracy of
the speed camera that detected Sen-Constable Trevor; the issue was with the speed limit signage.)
In October, 2011, Policewoman Faye Pitman had a speed camera fine dismissed when a magistrate
accepted her word and that of a passenger that she w as driving at 98km/h on EastLink when the
camera snapped her at 106km/h.
The Herald Sun reporter writing on the Pitman case speculated that it would further undermine faith in
the cameras and that, 'Unless there is a successful appeal against the word of Senior Constable
Pitman and her witness, hundreds of speed camera fines are likely to be contested.'
Legal experts and police officers have also suggested that the Pitman case could lead to many others
like it. One officer stated, 'This could open Pandora's Box for everyone else.'
Barrister Michael commented, 'It's a really great thing. Previously, it has been impossible for people to
prove that they weren't speeding. It means there will be a floodgate opening of people challenging,
and many, many more people and angry drivers questioning their fines.'
Another barrister, Theo Alexander, has said the decision would likely 'embolden many motorists who
have been charged in similar circumstances to challenge their speeding fine'.
The Victorian Auditory General's report on the effectiveness of speed cameras released at the end of
August, 2011, stated, 'Two major faults in the road safety camera system have raised doubts about
the integrity of the program for some sections of the community and the media. Incorrect
infringements from the Western Ring Road cameras in 2003 and the Hume point-to-point cameras in
2010 have been subject to significant public comment.'

4. Speed cameras are essentially a revenue-raising device for governments
There is a wide-spread belief that speed cameras are primarily intended as revenue-raisers for
governments, rather than as a means of reducing the road toll. Some critics argue that the proof of
this is that, in Victoria at least, the locations of speed cameras were not advertised.
There are those who claim that Victoria's relatively large number of speed cameras and the fines they
generate are essentially a form of differential taxation on road users.
In an article published in The Herald Sun on November 24, 2010, the following claims were made,
'Victoria is the only state in Australia that does not put up signs to warn motorists they are
approaching a fixed speed camera.
Mobile speed cameras in some Australian states also have warning signs. But Victorian motorists are
not warned they are approaching a mobile speed camera.
Victoria has by far the highest cash penalties in Australia for speeding at less than 10km/h over the
limit and Victorian motorists also pay the most for exceeding the speed limit by more than 10km/h but
less than 15km/h.' The implication of these observations is that the Victorian Government was
seeking to maximise the revenue-raising potential of these cameras.
In an article published in The Herald Sun on December 27, 2010, Ashley Gardiner stated, 'Only four
of Victoria's 20 most dangerous accident black spots are monitored by speed cameras. Yet almost all
of the most lucrative speed camera locations have been free of fatalities in the past five years.
Dangerous outer-suburban intersections are being ignored in favour of busy inner-city locations. The
revelations have been seized on as proof that cameras are for revenue raising.'
The claim that speeding fines are primarily a revenue source for governments has been made overtly
by Paul Murray, former editor of the West Australian. Mr Murray has stated, 'I have no compunction in
calling speeding fines a form of taxation because any examination of how they work leads to that
conclusion.
There is no victim other than the driver when you are snapped for doing something like 5kmh over the
speed limit. So it is hard to see the fine as a punishment when there's been no offence against
anyone.
The majority of speed camera fines are for low-speed offences. They are therefore such a small
relative penalty as to be useless in changing behaviour. So, in my view at least, speeding penalties
have more in common with a road use fee than a punishment. They are more of a tax than a fine.'

5. Speed cameras can cause accidents
There are those who claim that speed cameras can actually increase the risk of an accident.
A report was issued in August 2011 by the insurance company Liverpool Victoria (LV=) on a survey
conducted among 1,532 of its members on the effects of speed cameras on driver behaviour.
The poll found 81 percent of drivers said they looked at their speedometers rather than the road when
a camera came into view, the poll by insurance company LV= revealed. While five percent admitted to
braking suddenly when in sight of speed cameras, risking rear-end shunts.
A further 31 percent claimed to have witnessed an accident, or a near-miss, as a result of drivers'
erratic behaviour when faced with a camera. 46 percent of those surveyed believed that cameras
diverted attention away from other areas of their driving, while 11 per cent believed cameras actually
increased the risk of an accident.
The managing director of Liverpool Victoria, John O'Roarke, stated, 'The feedback from drivers is that
while.,. [speed cameras] may reduce speed, they also appear to impair driving ability or, at the least,
concentration on the road. As this report shows, some drivers behave erratically and, at worst,
dangerously, around speed cameras.'
Brian Gregory, a spokesperson for the Association of British Drivers has claimed, 'No more than six
per cent of accidents in this country are caused by speeding drivers...Most accidents are caused
because drivers are unable to concentrate on the road because they are looking for cameras.'
The Australian lobby group CARR (Citizens Against Road Ripoffs) has also claimed, 'Speed cameras
may even cause accidents because journey times are increased, causing drivers to become
frustrated. Drivers may divert to less safe routes to avoid cameras and cameras can distract driver
attention, and cause sudden braking.'

Arguments in favour of speed cameras
1. Speed is a major contributory factor in causing and worsening road accidents
There have been a wide range of studies done which indicate a connection between speed and
accident rates. None of these studies appear to claim that speed is generally the sole contributory
factor; rather they are look at the effect of speed in connection with the mix of other factors that affect
car safety and driver performance.
A 2002 British study prepared for the Road Safety Division, Department for Transport, Local
Government and the Regions by Taylor, Baruya and Kennedy found that 'Accident frequency in all
categories increased rapidly with mean speed. The "All accident frequency" increased with speed to
the power of approximately 2.5 - thus indicating that a 10% increase in mean speed results in a 26%
increase in the frequency of all injury accidents.'
The same study found that the effect of speed was particularly negative under adverse road
conditions, for example, where there are frequent sharp bends or intersections.
The study report stated, 'The effect of mean speed was found to be particularly large (power of about
5) for junction accidents, suggesting substantial potential for accident reduction from strategies
designed to reduce speeds at junctions.'
Studies of fatal road accidents in rural Australia have indicated that speed is a major contributory
factor. The 1995 Henderson study noted that excessive speed 'not only makes crashes more likely, it
makes the crashes that do occur more destructive'. The 1999 Kloeden et al. study demonstrated that
excessive speed leads to more driver errors and gives drivers less reaction time. A 1995 Victorian
case-control study of fatal single-vehicle crashes found that driving above the speed limit significantly
increases the chances of involvement in a road crash.
Australian studies indicate that excessive speed is a probable or possible cause in 25% of the rural
crashes around Adelaide (Kloeden et al. 1997) and is a factor in up to 36% of fatal crashes in NSW
(Department of Transport, 1998).
The recent 2011 Victorian Auditory General's report on the effectiveness of speed cameras
commented on the effect of speed under all driving conditions, rural and metropolitan. The report
stated, 'The link between speed and the likelihood of a crash is strongly supported by research
evidence.
A seminal study conducted in 2001 by the University of Adelaide found that in rural
areas in South Australia, the risk of crash doubled with a 10 km/h increase in speed in
100 km/h zones. Another study by the same university conducted in 2002 found that in metropolitan
areas, when travelling between 60 and 80 km/h, the vehicle occupants' risk of a fatality or serious
injury crash doubled for each 5 km/h increase in travelling speed. As such, small increases in speed
have significant impacts on crash risk along with more excessive speeding.'
Referring specifically to the effect of speed on the severity of an accident, rather than its contribution
to the likelihood of an accident, the Victorian Auditor General's report stated, 'There is a causal link
between speed and severity of a crash, because when a crash occurs, the greater the travelling
speed, the greater the impact energy which is transferred to the road users involved.
In a head-on crash, the likelihood that occupants will survive decreases rapidly if the
vehicle is travelling above 70 km/h. For side-impact collisions, the chance of survival decreases
rapidly above 50 km/h.'

2. Speed cameras reduce speeding and accidents
There have been a wide range of studies which have demonstrated speed cameras reduce both
speeding and accidents.
On October 6, 2011, Dr Ananya Mandal reported in News Medical on the findings of recent study
conducted by the University of Queensland. The study analysed 35 other studies from Australia, the
United States, Canada, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Britain, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, New
Zealand and Norway to determine the usefulness of speed cameras in preventing accidents.
Collated findings from all the studies showed that speed cameras cut the average speed by 1-15
percent and the percentage of vehicles that exceeded local speed limits between 14 percent and 65
percent. The numbers of crashes in the areas of the cameras also fell by between 8 percent and 49
percent, while fatal or serious injury crashes reduced by between 11 percent and 44 percent.
Researcher Cecilia Wilson of the University of Queensland's Centre on National Research on
Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine stated, 'While there is variation in the results, the overall finding
is clear - speed cameras do reduce injuries and deaths...Even though some of the studies were not
conducted as carefully as others, the consistency in the way that vehicle speeds, crashes, road traffic
injuries and deaths all reduced in places where speed cameras were operating shows that these
cameras do a good job.'
The University of Queensland study concluded, 'Speed cameras used for road section control, which
measure average speed over distance, together with related emerging technologies arguably have
the potential to favourably influence speeding behaviour and thus enhance road safety.'

3. Speed cameras are generally accurate
Supporters of speed cameras typically stress their accuracy and the quality of their maintenance
program.
The Victorian Auditor General's report notes that faults are infrequent and rapidly rectified. In 2010, a
software fault in the Hume point-to-point camera system resulted in nine infringements being
incorrectly issued. On Thursday 14 October 2010, a police officer went to serve a notice for vehicle
impoundment arising from a speed infringement on the Hume Freeway. The officer reported to the
Traffic Camera Office that he thought that the driver was unlikely to have committed the offence.
On Friday 15 October, the Hume system was retrospectively deactivated as from Thursday14
October. A review of infringements was initiated on the same day and completed by the morning of
Monday 18 October. The review examined infringements detected around the times at which cameras
in the system resynchronised their internal clocks as this was identified as the most likely cause of
inaccurate readings.
The Department of Justice then reviewed all infringements since activation of the system in 2007.
Both the first and second reviews identified the same nine incidents as invalid. The total number of
infringements issued since activation of the system in 2007 was around 68 000. The nine invalid
infringements were withdrawn.
Regarding the maintenance of fixed speed camera's the recent Victorian Auditor General's report
further stated, 'The maintenance and testing program for fixed cameras is comprehensive,
methodologically sound and undertaken at appropriate intervals. This is complemented by a strong
systematic approach to monitoring the fixed camera network for faults and equipment degradation.'
The Victorian Auditor General's report also noted that the Department of Justice receives information
on the condition of the camera network at daily, monthly and quarterly intervals. In addition to
information received from regular scheduled maintenance and testing activities, sources of
information about possible faults are daily electronic monitoring of the status of cameras providing
alerts of power or communications failure, or gross faults in camera image; monthly report of camera
system performance and reports from the public or Victoria Police of camera faults providing
observations of cameras' physical condition.

4. Speed cameras are not essentially revenue-raising devices
It has been claimed that speed cameras are not about revenue-raising but are put in place to alter
driver behaviour and increase road safety.
The Victorian Auditor General's report notes that speeding fines provide the government with less
than .5 percent of its annual revenue. The report also notes that implementation discretion, which
means that many possible fines are not actually applied, saw the Victorian Government deliberately
forfeit $8.4 million in fines over the last financial year.
In relation to the claim that there are too many cameras and the fines are too high, the Victorian
Auditor General's report claims that for speed cameras to be effective they have to be widespread
and the fines need to be significant.
The Auditor General's report states, 'The extent to which enforcement is effective depends on the
level of perceived risk that it can create. To create a high level of perceived risk, a significant number
of road users and a significant amount of the road network must be exposed to enforcement. If
enforcement is too small, is reduced, or is removed, the perceived risk will fall and there will be less
deterrence. As such, to be effective, enforcement activities must be ongoing and of sufficient scale.'
The Victorian Auditor General's report also states that there is no documentary evidence from any
relevant government department to indicate that revenue raising is a factor in the decision as to where
speed cameras will be placed or in the decision about the level at which fines will be set. The Auditor
General's report claimed that all available evidence indicates that the basis of these decisions is
preventing road accidents.
Defenders of speed cameras claim the fact that Victoria did not (until recently) warn motorists of the
location of cameras was a road safety measure, not a revenue-raising one. They argue that warning
drivers of the location of speed cameras reduces their overall effectiveness. A warning may ensure
that drivers slow down in the vicinity of the marked cameras; however, there is unlikely to be any
effect on driving behaviour in areas where there are no cameras.

5. Opposition to speed cameras is media-driven and sometimes politically motivated
It has been suggested that public opposition to speed cameras has been fuelled by the negative
treatment they frequently receive in the media. It has further been suggested that there is frequently
no factual justification for the negative nature of these reports.
This point has been made by the Victorian Attorney General's report which stated, 'Public confidence
in the reliability and accuracy of the road safety camera program has been...undermined by the media
reporting surrounding the high amounts of infringements on the EastLink Freeway, although there has
been no evidence of incorrectly issued infringements.'
It has been claimed that the current Victorian government, when in Opposition, used community
dislike of speed cameras as a way of discrediting the former government.
Josh Gordon, in an article published in The Age on September 8, 2011, stated, 'In 2009, the then
shadow and now Minister for Roads, Terry Mulder, said speed cameras represented a "treasured pot
of gold for John Brumby".'
Gordon also claims, 'During last year's election campaign, Ted Baillieu promised a government led by
him would regularly publish details of mobile speed camera locations, while hinting there were serious
questions about their placement being linked to raising revenue.'

Further implications
Speeding fines and the operation of speed cameras are a highly emotive issue. TAC surveys
conducted in 2009 indicated that 59 percent of those surveyed believed the cameras were primarily a
revenue-raising device. A similar survey conducted the next year showed the number had risen to 69
percent. Scepticism within the community regarding speed cameras appears to be very high.
The most recent Victorian Auditor General's report on the operation of speed cameras suggests that
negative media coverage contributes to the popular perception that the cameras are either faulty or
are primarily revenue-raisers for governments. Clearly there is no story in reporting that a speed
camera worked effectively or that hundreds of thousands of people across Australia acknowledge
they were speeding and pay their fines without complaint, if unhappily. However, the almost entirely
negative focus in the media on the operation of speed cameras can have unfortunate consequences.
There are those who argue not only that speed cameras are sometimes defective or that the fines are
too high. Some opponents of speed cameras actually claim either that the cameras do not alter driver
behaviour or that speed itself is not a key element in causing road accidents and increasing their
severity. The last claim, that speed is not a significant factor in road accidents is a very dangerous
one as a large number of reputable studies have demonstrated the direct opposite.
It is obviously easy for some motorists to tell themselves they are sufficiently skilled or know the road
well enough to be able to speed without risk. However, studies from around the world have
demonstrated that this is not so. Although speed may not be the sole contributory factor to accident
causation, it is a major one. Further, when an accident occurs, the more rapidly a vehicle is travelling
the greater the damage inflicted on those within it.
Therefore, the prevailing tendency within some sections of the Australian media to focus on the
supposed faults of the nation's speed camera network could have the unfortunate consequence of
encouraging motorists to believe both that they have a right to speed and that they can do so in
safety.

Newspaper items used in the compilation of this issue outline
The Herald-Sun: September 1, 2011, pages 4-5, news items (photos - ref to auditor-general's report)
under general heading, `It's about safety, not revenue, says auditor'.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/its-about-safety-not-revenue-says-auditor/story-
fn7x8me2-1226126806934

The Age: September 1, 2011, page 5, news item by Reid Sexton, `Watchdog blasts speed camera
disclosures'.
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/watchdog-attacks-site-disclosures-20110831-1jm14.html

The Age: September 8, 2011, page 15, comment by Josh Gordon, `Populist stance on speed
cameras has left Coalition in a jam'.
http://newsstore.fairfax.com.au/apps/viewDocument.ac;jsessionid=11136B443713E849E6757CB00B
116B9A?sy=afr&pb=all_ffx&dt=selectRange&dr=1month&so=relevance&sf=text&sf=headline&rc=10&
rm=200&sp=brs&cls=293&clsPage=1&docID=AGE110908R27PT6F9LRC

The Herald-Sun: September 6, 2011, page 20, editorial, `Speed cams under pump'.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/editorials/speed-cameras-are-under-the-pump/story-e6frfhqo-
1226130020618

The Herald-Sun: September 6, 2011, page 3, news items (photos) by Tatnell and Buttler, `Schoolgirl
sinks speed cameras'.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/policewoman-wins-fight-against-eastlink-speed-
camera/story-e6frf7jx-1226130271999

The Herald-Sun: October 4, 2011, page 17, news item by Ashley Gardiner, `New attack on speed
demons'.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/baillieu-government-approves-32-new-new-speed-
cameras-for-melbourne/story-fn7x8me2-1226157597930

The Age: October 4, 2011, page 3, news item by Paul Millar, `State to switch on more cameras'.
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/state-to-switch-on-more-cameras-20111003-1l5ec.html

H/SUN, February 7, 2012, page 16, news item by K Moor, `Rush to end road rorts'.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/drivers-rush-to-end-road-rorts/story-fn7x8me2-
1226264250998

AUST, February 6, 2012, page 5, news item by K Moor, `Name cash cams'.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/name-cash-cameras-new-watchdog-gordon-
lewis/story-fn7x8me2-1226263209996

				
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posted:11/26/2012
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