Ways of looking at the speeding cameras installed
At least 11 speeding cameras have gone up along the Queens Highway from the Coral Coast all the way to Lautoka. So what will this mean? The move has obviously been undertaken to stop people from speeding and getting involved in accidents. But the argument is – is it ONLY speeding which leads to accidents? Driving from Suva to Nadi itself would take at least three and half hours when one drives within the speed limits and restrictions. But this doesn’t take into account those drivers who drive way below the speed limit – sometimes going at 40km/h or below in an 80km/h zone. Therefore, coming across such drivers would naturally means it takes longer to reach your destination. Why do people speed? There can be a few reasons. One they might be getting late to get to some place, either last minute something came up or just that they left late. Another reason could be they have got frustrated driving way below the speed limit and just want to overtake someone who is driving really slowly.
Let’s consider both the pros and cons of this implementation/introduction.
Starting off with pros first
More revenue surely for the Land Transport Authority as whether knowingly or unknowingly, there will be many people caught driving above the required speed in the area. This will also mean people will pay much more attention to the speed which is restricted in the particular area. Less human resources would need to be used, in terms of police and LTA officers, to stand with speed detectors and fining people. These resources can be diverted to more useful areas.
Motorists might also start driving within speed limits and in an ideal world, there will be less accidents.
But what are the cons
The cameras have been installed on straight stretches where many motorists were able to overtake safely before, even if it meant going slightly over the speed limit. But what can happen now is since motorists would not be able to overtake in this straight long stretches, they will be forced to overtake at risky bends. Would this not be an even bigger threat with increased changes of accidents?
People will be constantly checking their speed to ensure they are within speed limits, and motorists would know well that distraction for a split second can lead to an accident. Aren’t the chances higher now? Because of the delays caused for not being able to overtake in these safer stretches, aren’t people going to speed in other places to make up for the delays?
The speed cameras have been located at places which arguably have not had many accidents. So will they really help in reducing accidents? Should there be more investment in ensuring that our drivers are skilled enough to drive on our roads to ensure we have safer roads instead of investment in speed cameras. There were two speed cameras installed in Suva and within a few months of operations, they are now no longer working. Why invest in something which ultimately does not bring back much long-term returns? At least with the fear to knowing there would be police or LTA along the road, people would not risk speeding because locations are not known.
It is a waiting game to see if this really works. But it would be interesting if information/data is released in terms of how these speed cameras have assisted in reducing the number of accidents