Cameras will be up to speed
CONTROVERSIAL speed cameras are set to return to the Western Ring Rd for the first time since an old Datsun was wrongly clocked doing 158km/h on the stretch two years ago.
But police, indicating they want to restore faith in the system of speeding fines, may publicise the locations of mobile speed cameras.
The State Government will pay $6.5 million for 21 new radar cameras to be installed by year's end.
The Datsun incident in 2003 exposed faulty camera readings, forcing the Government to refund $11.6 million worth of fines.
The stretch has been free of the money traps since then, but will not be for much longer.
The state's top traffic cop yesterday signalled that law enforcers would be taking a more reasonable approach to speed fines in future.
"The cameras will be delivered by the end of this year, then some further (checking) work will be required before they become operational," said Assistant Commissioner for Traffic Noel Ashby.
Mr Ashby said the new radar-based cameras would be more reliable than their Western Ring Rd predecessors.
He said he recognised that public confidence needed to be restored and there would be extensive publicity to make drivers aware of the new speed cameras.
He said police were giving thought to publicising the locations of mobile speed cameras and that plans to ban radio stations from broadcasting their whereabouts had been scrapped.
But Mr Ashby would not say whether permanent camera warning signs would be erected on the Western Ring Rd.
"We recognise there were significant issues, in 2003 particularly . . . We're looking at a range of options," he said.
Drivers who relied on speedometers or cruise control that turned out to be faulty could challenge their fines with the traffic camera office, he said.
But they would need to present evidence and sign an affidavit.
The new fixed cameras will be bought from Dutch company Gatsometer BV, the supplier of Victoria's current stock of mobile speed cameras.
The 21 cameras will be installed at eight sites on the Western Ring Rd.