Stealthy Speed Cameras: The Facts and the Ethics
Recently, the New South Wales government announced they were removing speed camera warning signs.
“This is about changing culture and changing behaviour,” said Transport Minister Andrew Constance, “No warnings signs mean you can be caught anywhere, anytime.”
The government has justified the decision as being a permanent deterrent against motorists, encouraging them not to speed at any time, on any stretch of road.
But Chair of the Joint Standing Committee for Road Safety, Lou Amato MLC, as well as Nationals Upper House Member, Wes Fang, have raised doubts about the effectiveness of the decision. Amato spoke at a party meeting of outrage in the community over the decision and has since called an inquiry into the matter.
Wes Fang has labelled the decision a “disgrace”, stating, “People need to have confidence in the system that if they speed they would have been given a warning, and they’ve still done it anyway and they got the ticket.”
The Labor Party has also criticised the decision, accusing the Government of revenue raising, with Labor Spokesman John Graham MLC calling the move a “Cash Grab on a grand scale.”
In addition to removing warning signs for mobile speed cameras, the cars in which these cameras are housed are being diversified, including a range of Utes & SUVs of various colours, and no markings on the vehicles.
On Facebook, you may have seen viral posts about the sneaky tactics being used by the Speed Camera drivers, such as raising their bonnet to appear like a broken down car. Whilst unverified, these posts show how stealthy these mobile speed cameras are trying to be.
The revenue raised by mobile speed cameras has increased by almost 900%, from $382,000.00 last January, to $3.4 million in January this year. This also comes after the active hours of mobile speed cameras has tripled from 7000 hours per month to 21,000 hours.
Near the University, Newcastle Road, Wallsend had the highest amount of Speed Camera detections in the region between July and December last year. University Drive, Callaghan came fourth with 205 detections over the same period.
A spokesman for the Transport Minister Andrew Constance has said he had “received advice that up to 43 lives a year would be saved by removing mobile speed camera warning signs”.
I’ve asked several students here at the university about what they think of these new measures, here are some sections of their answers:
“The people being caught by these cameras will be people on their way to work who have slipped a few kms over the limit, not the dangerous idiots who need to be off the roads”.
Speaking of the proximity to the former warning signs to the Speed Cameras, another student said:
“Warning signs used to remind people to look at their speed and correct it, and really dangerous drivers wouldn’t have enough time to slow down.”
Another student, raising the issues around demerit points and the economic harm the State government is forcing people through, said this:
“Fines are one thing, but the demerit points that go with them are a whole issue of their own. With only two very minor speeding offences, a P-Plater loses their license, meaning they can’t get to work or get to Uni.”
Is spying on drivers to catch them out unknowingly, and then sending them a fine a few weeks later really going to get us to zero fatalities? There’s an argument that people deserve fair warning before they’re booked and sending a fine in the mail doesn’t stop the dangerous behaviour when it happens, which is when it matters most.
As YouTuber FriendlyJordies put it:
“If you want people to slow down why would you get rid of the warning signs?”
“What works better, smacking your kid, or saying, Want a smack?”