Speed cameras

Speeding trucks and overcrowded buses have provided plenty of fodder for The Courier’s letters to the editor page this month, highlighting the depth of motorists’ concerns about traffic problems along the freeway.
So it will be interesting to see how the news of the installation of two permanent speed cameras on the freeway will be received by the commuting public.
The transport department likes to call them “safety cameras” and to the howls of “revenue raising” the State Government takes a holier than thou attitude and quite rightly states that if a driver doesn’t speed, then the cameras won’t be a problem.
However, will these cameras actually make the freeway safer or will they just keep speed limits to legal levels for the 100m leading into the camera sites near Crafers and the Mt Osmond overpass?
If the Government is really serious about keeping big trucks within 60kmh and everyone else to 100kmh, why not use the point-to-point speed camera system used on major roads interstate?
This system uses a number of cameras over a length of road to measure a vehicle’s average speed. Using a point-to-point system would make sure drivers monitor their speed over the entire distance.
Offenders are issued one fine for one trip, eliminating the potential for two fines for two potential lapses of driving on a steep descent.
Perhaps there are logistical issues that prevent such a system from working on the freeway but, if there are, it would be interesting to know what they might be.
Either way, one issue these cameras will not overcome is bad driving.
They don’t photograph tailgaters, the drivers who use the emergency lanes to overtake or the idiots who weave in and out of traffic.
“Safety cameras” at two points do not replace the very urgent need for a greater police presence in peak hour.
And while on the subject, why can’t the Government put up warning signs about the permanent Safe-T-Cam number plate recognition equipment at Crafers that records unregistered and uninsured vehicles?
The law might not demand warning signage but if the transport department can come up with a policy that requires “safety camera ahead” signs before all fixed speed and intersection speed cameras, then another reminder about another camera would go a long way towards motorist education.
Road safety is a two-way street.
If the authorities are going to spend tax dollars to significantly increase their ability to detect and fine motorists, then they need to match their efforts with strategies to help motorists self-regulate.
It’s not as if the department is frugal about the number of signs it deems fit to install along the freeway.

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For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.