The NSW government is depriving speeding motorists a chance to self-regulate, according to the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA).
A recent statement released by the body suggests the current mobile speed camera strategy is affecting the way motorists regulate their speed. This is especially detrimental, if the ultimate goal is to get drivers to stay within the limit, and not raise revenue from fines.
In order to remedy this, NRMA has presented a proposal for fairer mobile speed cameras.
What prompted the proposal?
Statistics issued by the NRMA indicate that around 41,000 motorists have been fined by cameras so far this financial year. Last year's figure was approximately 26,500.
The mobile speed camera enforcement hours went up by 650 per cent in 2014 compared to the year before. Revenue from fines more than quadrupled from $1.4 million in 2013 to $7.3 million in 2014.
The NRMA position
NRMA President Kyle Loades said although cameras play a significant role in road safety, measures can be put in place to make sure the system is fair and just. There is a need to reinforce the message that speed cameras are placed on roads for safety and not to generate revenue.
He added, with an increase in the number of cameras and enforcement hours, it is now the perfect time to introduce checks and balances.
Mr Loades said NRMA's four-point plan is made up of common sense suggestions, which will cost close to nothing to implement.
"If motorists are given a fairer chance to adjust their speed limit and drive to the conditions than it will not only reduce the number of motorists who get fined, but also make our roads safer –- that's exactly what the NRMA's proposals will achieve," he explained.
What are the key recommendations from the NRMA plan?
The NRMA suggests the following measures:
- Display speed limit on warning signs
Motorists are warned with a sign and speed limit before approaching a fixed speed camera. The same should apply to mobile enforcement units. This is going to alleviate unnecessary stress for drivers, especially when they are on an unfamiliar route.
- More distance between warning signs and the camera vehicle
The current regulations require temporary warning signs to be placed 50 metres before and after the camera vehicle. Another sign is placed 250 metres before the mobile unit. However, high speed roads make it difficult for drivers to adjust their speed in time.
According to the NRMA, the current conditions pose not only a safety risk, but can also slow down traffic unnecessarily. For example, a car driving at 80 km/h has less than one second to reduce its speed.
- High visibility markings on mobile speed camera vehicles
Motorists find it hard to differentiate mobile speed camera units from other emergency response vehicles which are regularly parked on the roadside. Distinguishable markings on the mobile speed camera vehicles will help motorists keep their speed in check.
- Conduct safety audits at sites where mobile speed cameras operate
Reviews of the mobile camera sites should be conducted on an annual basis. These audits will ensure motorists are not penalised unfairly, especially with the increase in mobile speed camera enforcement hours and locations.
As well as driving within the speed limit, motorists must also ensure their vehicle is safe. You can check on the expiry of your green slip and registration on this website. To undertake a green slip comparison, check the green slip calculator.