Undercover surveillance rejected
No go for speed vans

A PROPOSAL to introduce undercover speed vans in NSW has failed to win the support of the State Government or the Opposition.

The Roads and Traffic Authority is considering whether covert surveillance would be an effective way of reducing speeding on the state’s roads.

But Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal said yesterday he preferred high-visibility measures such as highway police and visible cameras.

“We would need to see overwhelming evidence of a real community benefit before we changed our current strategy,” Mr Roozendaal said.

“My personal view is I don’t think it’s appropriate to go to covert cameras.”

He said the secret vans were just one of a number of possible options being examined to discourage speeding.

“Speed remains the No. 1 cause of accidents on our roads and we need to look at ways of encouraging people to slow down.”

The NSW Opposition slammed the proposal and called instead for more highway patrol officers on the roads.

“If you want to do something substantial about changing driver behaviour and bring down the road toll, that’s the way to go,” Opposition police spokesman Mike Gallacher said.

Mr Gallacher said “sneaky” measures like covert speed cameras were a means to raise revenue and confusing for drivers, who might be unsure which family member had been at the wheel at the time they were caught.

NRMA spokesman Brett Gale said covert surveillance did nothing to change the speeding culture.

He agreed that increased police numbers were the best deterrent.

“Getting down the road toll is about changing driver behaviour, and the best way to (do that) is for people to see police out there, be afraid of being caught by police,” Mr Gale said.

However, the Pedestrian Council of Australia backed the plans.

“Covert speed camera and red-light camera enforcement saves lives,” council chairman Harold Scruby said.

“This proposal is not revenue-raising. It’s life-saving.”