Fixed speed cameras are usually located in black spots (areas that have recorded a high number of crashes and fatalities) to reduce and prevent road accidents. In NSW alone, more than 140 people died while more than 4000 were injured in 2007 because of speeding.
CHOICE does not dispute the need for speed cameras. While they generate speed tickets worth millions of dollars in revenue, they also help reduce the number of deaths and injuries on the roads.
When we asked members to nominate their city’s most active speed cameras, Victorians singled out the speed camera at the intersection of Greythorn and Doncaster Road in Balwyn North, where the speed limit of 60km/h applies as drivers approach the downhill intersection. Similar cameras at the corner of Mont Albert and Union roads in Surrey Hills, and Gallaghers Road in Glen Waverley, were also mentioned.
Motorists in NSW nominated fixed speed cameras in Sydney’s Cleveland Street, between Anzac Parade and South Dowling Street. Motorists travelling at 70km/h from these roads must slow down to 50km/h (40km/h during school hours) on the Cleveland Street stretch. Many motorists speed on that stretch – both cameras there have issued $10.5 million in fines since they were installed in 2007.
Latest figures from the SDRO showed that 105,000 speed penalty tickets – the highest compared to all other fixed speed camera in NSW – were issued from speed offences picked up by these two cameras between March 2007 and June 2009.
The results show in the traffic statistics as well: according to the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority, three years before these two cameras in Cleveland Street were installed, there were 17 crashes and 12 injuries along this road, which has a large high school student pedestrian volume. But between November 2007 and June 2008, there was only one crash and no injuries.
Interestingly, however, CHOICE found that of the 69,386 speeding notices issued for the Cleveland Street hot spot last financial year in “out of school period” (when the speed limit is 50km/h), 93% were for those clocked travelling less than 65km per hour.
If you receive a speed camera fine, you may be able to get away with a caution. You can submit an appeal to the police or road authority in your state for the penalty to be withdrawn, or contest your case in court.
But any decision will depend on how fast you were going, your driving record and other circumstances, such as if you weren’t the driver or were rushing because of an emergency. The circumstances under which a caution can be granted differ from state to state.
In NSW, for example, if you have a clear driving record for 10 years, did not exceed the speed limit by more than 30km/h and the offence did not happen in a school zone where speed is restricted during class hours, you may submit an appeal to the SDRO.
Of the 43,805 speed camera fine appeals the SDRO received between July 2007 and June 2008, around 27% were successful. In Victoria, you can appeal for an official warning and have your fine waived if you admit the offence, you exceeded the speed limit by less than 10 km/h and have held a clear driving record for the last two years.
But in Adelaide, a good driving record is not a basis for an appeal if you have been caught speeding. When appealing against speed cameras, keep in mind you will still receive demerit points (see table) even if your fine is waived.