In a call that some would describe as stating the bleeding obvious, Victoria’s State Opposition Roads Spokesperson Terry Mulder has claimed that the Victorian Government is using its mobile speed camera network as little more than a revenue-raising program.
Referring to figures obtained through the Freedom Of Information Act, Mr Mulder said that around 150,225 motorists had been caught speeding by mobile cameras in the first three months of this year, compared to 138,191 for the same period last year.
The figures also showed that fines issued by officers on the road had dropped eight percent compared to the first quarter of 2009, and fines from fixed speed cameras had dropped by three percent.
Mr Mulder singled out the South-West, where mobile speed camera fines increased from 2990 in the first quarter of 2009, to 3699 in the same period this year.
“Everyone knows that the number of police officers in the south-west is below satisfactory levels so there has been less on-the-spot fines issued and more of this underhanded form of speed monitoring,” Mr Mulder told News Ltd.
Mr Mulder said that the Victorian Government has likely put pressure on mobile speed camera operators to make up the difference, particularly with the end of the financial year in sight.
Figures Obtained by the Victorian State Opposition have revealed that revenue from speeding fines has risen dramatically over past year, with most fines being issued in Melbourne’s suburbs.
Around 312,500 fines were issued betwen April and June this year, a 21 percent increase over the same period in 2008. Most of the speeders were caught in the Boroondara, Monash and Whitehorse council areas.
Detections from fixed speed cameras over the same period jumped by 45 percent.
The inner suburbs of Fitzroy, Prahran and Richmond have also become speed camera hotspots, while the Stonnington and Yarra council areas have seen a 221 percent surge in speeding fines.
With the infringements issued between April and June worth $36 million to the State Government and total speeding fine revenue expected to top $437 million this year (up from last year’s $397 million), the Opposition says the latest figures prove speed cameras are being used for revenue raising.
However, Acting Superintendent Steve Frost from Victoria Police’s Traffic Camera Office said the use of speed cameras was a viable deterrent against speeding.
“Speed enforcement initiatives are underpinned by strong evidence and are primarily directed at reducing road trauma, rather than raising revenue,” Supt Frost said.
“Speed is one of our biggest killers and can easily be avoided with common sense and care.
“Speeding fines are a voluntary contribution, if you abide by the speed limit you have nothing to worry about.”