Christopher Knaus June 16, 2012
Canberra drivers may face more speed cameras on ACT streets under a new road safety camera strategy announced yesterday, sparking criticism that revenue raising is the government's main motive.
The speed camera strategy will look at the ''process for considering expansion of the existing safety camera network'', according to Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.
''The city is growing, so I don't think you could rule out more speed cameras,'' Ms Gallagher said.
''There have been a number of reviews in other jurisdictions, which have really demonstrated they do have an important role in modifying driving behaviour,'' she said.
The strategy will look at the effectiveness of fixed, mobile and point-to-point speed cameras, and how each is placed across the city.
But opposition transport spokesman Alistair Coe has warned the government's primary motivation may be revenue raising rather than achieving road safety.
''It seems that the 'strategy' is geared towards endorsing the installation of more cameras, rather than objectively reviewing the efficacy of existing cameras,'' Mr Coe said.
Yesterday's announcement comes after the first point-to-point speed camera was activated along Hindmarsh Drive in late February.
Work on the speed camera strategy has just started and is expected to be completed by late this year, before the second point-to-point camera is installed on Athllon Drive.
The timing of the strategy was criticised by the opposition.
''If the government was actually committed to developing a strategy, they would have undertaken the review prior to commissioning the first point-to-point speed camera system,'' Mr Coe said.
''Instead, after installing two point-to-point cameras, the Labor government is seeking retrospective endorsement and permission to install more,'' he said.
The government says it will use electronic crash reports filed to ACT Policing to assess how valuable speed cameras have been in ensuring road safety.
But NRMA regional director Alan Evans warned the government must look at the severity of crashes, and the relevant weather and road conditions, time of day and traffic volume.
''No one condones speeding, but interestingly just over half the fatalities on Australian roads occur at speeds less than 55km/h, so focusing on speed alone is not the answer to reducing the road toll,'' Mr Evans said.
''Research clearly shows that if you are serious about moderating driver behaviour to avoid crashes and subsequent road trauma, including fatalities, it is not just about speed but the overall system, including driver behaviour.''
The NRMA has long favoured the funding of speed cameras to instead flow to increased police patrols on the road.
But Ms Gallagher said: ''There's a role for red light cameras, there is a role for point to point, and fixed speed cameras, and the police, and when all those things are working together … people are slowing down and they are changing their behaviour.''