Cash cow trap axed

The Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREW DOWDELL

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.”

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