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More cameras to combat speed toll
Article from: The Courier-Mail

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Michael Crutcher

December 31, 2007 11:00pm

FIXED speed cameras will be rolled out across the state later this year as exasperated police and traffic authorities try to prevent another year of carnage on Queensland roads.

Premier Anna Bligh said the 24-hour cameras, which began operation in two locations last month, would multiply in an effort to reduce a road toll which has increased for the fifth consecutive year.

The toll stood last night at 358 23 more than last year and almost 50 more than the 2003 total. The toll did not include an 11-year-old boy killed yesterday when his motorbike crashed on a property near Warwick because the death was not on a public road.

In a bid to cut the toll, The Courier-Mail is joining the State Government and Queensland Police Service in a campaign to "Save a Life a Week".

The fixed speed cameras could play a role in the campaign. The introduction of mobile cameras in 1998 helped keep the toll under 300 for the only time in the last 52 years.

"We had 279 deaths in 1998 and we believe it was no coincidence that it was during the year that speed cameras were introduced," Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said yesterday.

"As a general motoring public, we all slowed down that year. It can't be a freak occurrence."

Premier Bligh said the Government was waiting until new technology was available in the second half of the year before more cameras were put in place.

"There will be a significant investment in fixed cameras with digital technology and they will be spread in more locations across the state," Ms Bligh said. "The evidence is that they slow people down. Even if people are slowing down to avoid a fine, they are at least slowing down."

Mr Atkinson admitted some motorists would accuse authorities of revenue raising, but he said speed was believed to be a contributing factor in at least a third of fatal crashes.

"I would be really happy if not one motorist was booked for speeding in the next year," he said.

"The (2007) toll has been extraordinarily disappointing.

But I believe we can bring it down and we're trying to do that by saving a life a week. If we do that, we'll be close to 300 again and we can keep going from there."

Police Minister Judy Spence said she supported the campaign and urged motorists to remember the "fatal four" speeding, drink and drug-driving, fatigue and non-use of seatbelts.

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Have Your Say
Latest Comments:

I have a Navman GPS here in the UK. It tells me exactly where the speed cameras are and sets off a warning chime and notifys me of the speed limt. However the poms are shrewd money grabbers and I noticed today that there were two brand new overhead speed cameras, of a type I have never seen before on the motorway. They are up on 10-15m towers like a street light, and guess what? They were not there two days before Christmas! I think fixed speed cameras here have now developed a 'plug and play' technology!! And the interesting thing is that it now reads the number plate, sends the foto digitally back to the home computer which searches the database and posts out the infringement notice that day with no human intervention. Although maybe it needs us for paper jams. Next thing we will be issued with email addresses for our ID cards to save the stamps...
Posted by: Jon Bowerman of Aussie in UK 12:50am today

The type of camera they should be installing is the in-car video camera system to genuine unmarked Q Cars. Oh, and put more officers seated in these vehicles patrolling our roads looking for the downright hoons and dills. Nothing gets the aforementioned better when they're at their worst and thinking they aren't being watched. The number of high visibility patrol cars must be matched wtih an equal number of 'invisible' cars. Let's face it the high profile cars only keep the good motorist honest, and the motorised morons revert to their usual behaviour the minute they think they are being watched.
Posted by: Mick of Sunshine Coast 12:42am today

More revenue raising from a greedy Government. The roads are overcrowded, unsafely designed and falling apart. That combined with poor driver training is the real reason for a high death toll. The Government's plan seems to be "let the toll go up by having unsafe roads, and then make hundreds of millions from fines". Seems money is far more important than people...

Oh and speed kills because if cars had no speed then they wouldn't crash
Posted by: Peter F of Brisbane 12:42am today

How ridiculous, particularly if these are used to replace real police doing a real job of policing. The act of exceeding the speed limit is but one sometimes dangerous act, and cameras can't catch the many other forms of dangerous driving. A police officer in a vehicle can monitor for excessive speed as well as a range of other behaviours; more so if the vehicle is unmarked. And downright dangerous behaviour is quelled immediately, instead of _maybe_ a few weeks later when the photo arrives in the post.

Back when I first started driving, it wasn't uncommon to see at least 1 real police car at least every 100km, on a major highway drive such as Brisbane-Cairns (which, as a uni student, is a trip that I did a lot). That was just before mobile speed cameras started being deployed ¿ i.e. when police were the only option for road code enforcement. On one trip, just after Christmas 1998, I saw about twenty police cars, some unmarked, out and about doing road traffic work. I have never seen that kind of presence again since.

In fact, I did the same trip as a return gig during December, and saw a total of eight police vehicles, at least three of which were not engaged in traffic duties. I also saw eight mobile speed cameras. I believe I saw two unmarked vehicles; perhaps more were out and about, but I wouldn't be surprised if not. These are round-trip figures; the twenty I mention above is from a one-way trip.

That's less in any case, particularly when considering that the eight mobile cameras can only detect the offence of exceeding the posted speed limit and not any of the dozens of other dangerous, stupid, and/or illegal behaviours, plenty of which were on display (in some cases by drivers who drive for a living)!

So, where are the police ¿ or have they been phased out since the cameras allegedly do the job? And where's the element of surprise with a fixed camera ¿ people soon learn where they are, and simply modify their behaviour for the few hundred metres required to get past the camera?

I would prefer to see the money being given to the Gatso corporation, the makers of these cameras and a European company, instead go to putting more local police on the roads.
Posted by: Iain of Mansfield QLD 12:23am today

This is a waste of time and money. I am from Brisbane but I have lived here in Brazil for 15 years. We have fixed cameras everywhere here, but the drivers slow down as they pass them and then speed up again. Waste of time. What you need as a mobile radar about 800 meters on the other side of the fixed camera. That will get them.
Posted by: Ward Whittaker of Brazil 11:53pm December 31, 2007

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