Controversial changes to speed cameras sees fines TRIPLE

Kamilia Palu
·News Editor
·3-min read

It was a change that sparked furious debate from the moment it was proposed - the plan to get rid of all signs warning NSW drivers of upcoming speed cameras.

The changes to the state’s 45 mobile speed cameras came into effect in November, but new data has revealed just how much of an impact it is having on unwitting drivers.

Monthly fines have more than tripled, according to staggering figures obtained by 9News.

In December alone, drivers were slugged with fines totalling close to $2.5 million. The totals do not include fines from police or fixed speed cameras.

One of six mobile speed camera units to be deployed across NSW from July 19, Sydney, Saturday, July 10, 2010. The units will be covert, cheaper to operate and more effective than fixed units, says the state government. (AAP Image/Vincent Morello) NO ARCHIVING
One of six mobile speed camera units to be deployed across NSW from July 19, Sydney, Saturday, July 10, 2010. The units will be covert, cheaper to operate and more effective than fixed units, says the state government. (AAP Image/Vincent Morello) NO ARCHIVING

The warnings signs were previously required to be placed 250 metres ahead of the mobile speed camera, as well as 50 metres after.

Along with the signs being scrapped, the high visibility vehicle wraps were also removed and the hours of camera operation were dramatically increased, from 7000 hours per month to 21,000 hours.

The law changes were put in place in a bid to save lives, with the Monash University Accident Research Centre estimating between 34 and 43 lives per year could be saved.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance said at the time it was about “changing culture and changing behaviour”.

“No warnings signs mean you can be caught anywhere, anytime and we want that same culture around mobile speed cameras,” he said.

But some saw the change purely as a form of revenue raising.

As the new laws were brought into force in November last year, Nationals MP Wes Fang slammed the decision as “absurd”.

“Today's decision by Andrew Constance to remove the speed camera warning signs for the mobile cameras is an absolute disgrace and unfairly targets regional and rural motorists,” he said.

NSW Minister for Roads Andrew Constance speaks to the media in Sydney, Tuesday, December 17, 2019. The NSW government has released mobile phone detection camera data from week one.Ê(AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING
NSW Minister for Roads Andrew Constance speaks to the media in Sydney, Tuesday, December 17, 2019. The NSW government has released mobile phone detection camera data from week one.Ê(AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING

The same month the controversial new rules started, revenue soared past $1 million for the first time, 9News reported.

NRMA’s Peter Khoury told the network the revised laws are unlikely to make a positive impact on the state’s death toll.

"Is it a good policy? Well no, it's not. Will it save lives? Probably not," he said.

"We've lost all of that education, we still have the enforcement but all too often people don't find out they've done the wrong thing until two to three weeks later."

NSW was the only state or territory that warned drivers of an upcoming speed camera.

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