Camera plan to beat bad drivers
From: The Sunday Telegraph
SURVEILLANCE cameras will be installed in buses to catch motorists illegally driving in bus lanes.
Under a plan to be put to the Roads and Traffic Authority, the New South Wales state government will spend $30 million in the next two years upgrading and installing CCTV cameras on buses to improve driver and passenger safety - and for bus-lane enforcement.
The cameras, which will beam live to a safe site for recording, will give a clear image of vehicle registration plates as well as passengers entering buses.
The move followed a revelation by The Sunday Telegraph that thousands of motorists, including Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal, use bus lanes to escape Sydney's congested traffic.
About 1445 motorists were caught illegally using bus lanes in NSW last year, an offence that draws a $225 fine and the loss of three demerit points.
Mr Watkins' spokeswoman said the Government was also considering using cameras to record images of passengers entering from the front and rear bus doors as a counter-terrorism measure.
The cameras would be designed to survive a terrorist attack or any other event that could cause significant damage to a bus.
They would also help police investigations by identifying vehicles which are involved in accidents with buses.
"This has the potential to not only reduce personal-injury claims and insurance premiums, but to defend drivers wrongly accused by third parties in such incidents," the spokeswoman said.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union said the cameras would be beneficial in areas where bus drivers crashed into trees, telegraph poles and street furniture too close to the road.
RTBU spokesman Peter Jenkins said there had been trials on buses in an eastern suburbs depot and on the northern beaches.
"The video footage will be taken back to the councils where there is a problem with trees and street furniture," he said.
"With a large vehicle, trees sometimes get in the way.
"It makes it tricky for drivers and it has happened that they have sometimes knocked telegraph poles, trees, awnings and bus shelters that are too close to the kerb."
Expressions of interest for the first stage of the project are now being sought.
The forward-facing cameras being considered by the Government are already being used in London and Ireland.
Copyright 2006 News Limited. All times AEST (GMT + 10).