Source: The Mercury, Thursday, July 20, 1995, pp. 1-2


Speed cameras turn up trumps on toll

By STUART DIWELL



How the death rate has fallen

SPEED cameras have significantly
helped cut the Tasmanian road toll
saving the state millions of dollars.

  When they were first introduced in March
1993 about 3.4 per cent of drivers were
speeding.

  After two years of operation, barely 1 per
cent of drivers are detected speeding.

  Police Traffic Liaison Unit head Barry
Stephens said yesterday: "Since the intro-
duction of speed cameras Tasmania has
recorded its lowest fatality rates since sta-
tistics were recorded - 58 deaths on our
roads for both 1993 and 1994."

  In 1992 there were 74 deaths on
Tasmanian roads.

  The Federal Bureau of Transport and
Communications Economics estimates each
road death costs the economy $752,400
which equates to a saving of $12 million to
the state in 1992 and 1993.
  Inspector Stephens
said the number of veh-
icles checked by speed
cameras had also risen
dramatically.

  In 1993-94 speed
cameras checked
2,417,300 vehicles. In
1994-95 it had risen to
4,227,904.

  "The risk to drivers
driving through a speed
camera check has
almost doubled but it
must be remembered
there is no risk to driv-
ers who do not speed,"
Inspector Stephens said.

  Traffic Liaison Unit
sergeant Gary Eastwood
said speed cameras were
the latest in a series of
safety initiatives intro-
duced since 1970 which
had played a major role
in reducing the road toll.

  In 1971 the Tasman-
ian road toll was 130 but
this fell to 106 the
following year with the
introduction of compul-
sory seatbelt use.

  In 1982, the toll was
96 but this plummeted
to 70 the following year
with the introduction of
random breath testing
and the .05 blood-alco-
hol limit.

  "With each of these
measures we have seen
an improvement in the
number of lives saved on
our roads," Sergeant
Eastwood said.

  "That is what we are
on about. We are not out
there trying to raise
revenue.

  "In fact, the best re-
sult we could get would
be to go out there and
not hand out any fines
because it would mean
we had not detected any-
one speeding."

  Sergeant Eastwood
said the most common
speeding offences were
drivers travelling be-
tween 15kmh and
29kmh over the limit.

  This carries a $110
fine and the loss of three
demerit points.

  Sergeant Eastwood
also defended the deci-
sion to use speed camer-
as outside designated
blackspot areas, a move
that has attracted some
criticism from members
of the Legislative
Council.

  "One of the biggest
enemies to road safety is
driver complacency," he
said.

  "If they know a cer-
tain area has been de-
signated they will take
more care there, which
is good, but they will not
necessarily change their
driving behaviour else-
where.

  "Our experience
shows that when we
move to a new location
we find a higher level of
speeding offences but
the more we come back
the less offenders we
detect.

  "Drivers have to real-
ise they run the risk
anywhere in the state of
being detected if they
speed. That is the way
we will get them to mod-
ify their behaviour even
if we cannot eliminate
speeding entirely."

  In 1994-95 revenue
from speed camera fines
was $3.8 million with a
similar amount ex-
pected to be raised this
financial year.

  Battery Point Pro-
gress Association presi-
dent and Labor MHA
John White said the
community was now rec-
ognising speed cameras
as an important tool in
lowering the road toll.

  Mr White said the
money raised from speed
camera fines should be
used to ensure speed
limit signage was ade-
quate, including paint-
ing speed limits on
roads, and reflected the
capacity of the road.

  Mr White said
another step should also
be to reduce speed limits
on roads in high-density
population areas such as
Battery Point, Lutana
and Goodwood.

  He said cutting the
speed limit in these
areas from 60kmh to
50kmh would cut road
accidents by 30 per cent.


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