Cash cow trap axed
A CONTROVERSIAL roadside speed trap – consistently dubbed a “cash cow” and “revenue raiser” – will be relocated in response to a review of the state’s traffic camera network.
The speed camera, pointed at the Bakewell Underpass on the CBD’s outskirts, was the first so-called “mid-block” fixed camera to be installed between intersections in 2011. Police Minister Corey Wingard said the underpass camera and another on Frederick Rd at West Lakes would be dismantled.
Twelve new sites have been earmarked to receive permanent cameras. The State Government’s decision to scrap the lucrative but unpopular Bakewell Underpass camera is part of its response to an independent audit ordered by Premier Steven Marshall after his March 2018 election win.
The underpass camera reaped more than $1 million in fines in its first year and, in 2016, nabbed 2637 speeding drivers, garnering $910,000.
In 2017, former Road Safety Minister Peter Malinauskas said the Bakewell Underpass and other mid-block cameras had been “highly effective”.
He said there had been five casualty crashes near there in the five years before it was installed but none since.
Mr Wingard said he accepted the independent audit’s recommendation that police and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure review their methods for selecting camera locations.
“Areas that have high crash history, or are of high risk because they may be located near schools or pedestrian crossings … may be eligible for a camera,” Mr Wingard said.
The department is currently testing a new website dedicated to speed cameras and management of road safety. Mr Wingard said the website was scheduled to be running by next month and would provide motorists with more transparency and understanding of decisions.
“When new cameras go up data will be released that illustrates the rationale of why those sites were selected,” he said.
Mr Wingard said he would also lobby Treasurer Rob Lucas for funding to erect bigger warning signs on the approach to fixed cameras.
“Making warning signs more visible and simpler … will make drivers more aware of cameras ahead and hopefully result in them slowing down in risky areas,” he said.
The report showed there had been a 21 per cent reduction in crashes at intersections where cameras had been installed, compared to a 7 per cent reduction at crossings with no camera. It also recommended the department had “adopted a relatively complex” selection process but had no “documented process to determine which sites should be considered”.
“This raises the question of whether more risky sites are being overlooked through a lack of a rigorous top-down approach,” the report says.
RAA traffic engineer Matthew Vertudaches welcomed the decision to scrap the two cameras, which he said had been the source of “countless complaints” from motorists.
“The RAA has long argued that the focus of the state’s camera network must be enhancing road safety, not raising revenue,” he said.
“New cameras around school crossings are an important step forward in road safety and will protect children, who are some of the most vulnerable and unpredictable pedestrians.”