The NSW government’s road safety chief says an increase in the number of speed cameras has saved lives, despite the state’s road toll being 32 per cent higher this year than in 2015.
Speaking at a driver education event on Friday, NSW centre for Road Safety Executive Director Bernard Carlon defended the use of fixed and mobile cameras and supported a further increase in their numbers.
“When we look at the actual specific locations that the cameras are operating in we’ve had a 90 per cent reduction in fatalities,” he said.
“Even the 600 odd mobile speed camera locations that we’ve got 7000 hours being circulated around we’ve even seen a reduction of crashes in those locations even if they are not permanently there.
“So we have seen a reduction of crashes, fatalities and injuries where that enforcement activity is happening. Yet in the other parts of the road network which don't have those system applied to them people are speeding and crashing and we’re seeing a number of speed related fatalities.
“Just this year we have had a 37 per cent increase in speed related fatalities. And that’s because the cameras aren’t everywhere.”
According to the 2015 NSW Speed Camera Review published in December last year there was 91 per cent reduction in fatalities along with a 42 per cent reduction of injuries at fixed-camera locations from 2009 -2014.
While the cameras are no doubt making drivers more conscious of how fast they are going, since 2009 the safety systems in cars have improved dramatically with technology such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane keeping assist, active cruise control, reversing cameras, electronic brakeforce distribution, automatic emergency braking, LED running lights becomingcommon place on even the most affordable cars. The body shells of cars also use more ultra high-strength steel to protect the occupants and a five-star ANCAP crash test rating is now expected out of all new passenger cars.
According to the review fixed cameras are located at 107 locations; there are fixed red light-speed cameras at 145 intersections (up from 125 in 2013); 45 school zones have speed cameras and mobile speed cameras operate in 640 locations with 7000 hours of enforcement (up from 930 hours in 2013) and 24 point-to-point cameras (up from 21 in 2013).
The annual review identified 25 locations where cameras would be decommisisoned as they were not considered to be improving safety. The Centre for Road Safety's website also shows that last year 15 new red light-speed cameras were added in NSW.