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The number of accidents on roads next to Swindon’s shrouded speed cameras is the same now as when they were active, according to council figures.

The five fixed cameras were covered in July last year after the Conservative-run borough council withdrew funding.

The council said it wanted to divert the money spent on cameras to alternative road safety measures.

Swindon’s Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors said they would turn the cameras back on if they had the chance.

It really confirms what we were thinking says Councillor Peter Greenhalgh

Council statistics show there was one death and eight minor accidents on the roads in the six months from August 2008.

In the six months from August last year, there were no fatalities, seven minor accidents and two serious ones.

Councillor Peter Greenhalgh, who is in charge of roads at the council, said the figures were encouraging.

“The period has been relatively short so there is always a chance that there will be a statistical blip, which might actually be that someone has been killed, but so far it really confirms what we were thinking,” he said.

The council was the first English local authority to abandon fixed cameras.

Mobile cameras are still used by the police.

‘Encouraging boy racers’

Mr Greenhalgh said: “Speed cameras do their job; they take photographs of people who are breaking the speed limit, but road safety is a much wider subject.

“What we’re looking at is how we use the funds we have to improve general road safety rather than that 5% or 6% of accidents are caused by people breaking the speed limit.”

Councillor Derique Montaut, leader of the Labour group at the local authority, said: “This council, under Conservative administration, has ignored the safety aspect and given us a reputation within the nation as encouraging boy racers on our roads.

“I know the cameras are very unpopular with some individuals, but removing them hasn’t reduced speed levels, it’s increased speed levels.”

Councillor Stan Pajak, who leads the Liberal Democrats at the council, said: “We still see the cameras as useful if they’re strategically placed.

“Speed causes accidents and most people slow down when they see a camera.

“This data doesn’t show any improvement since the cameras were turned off.”

An article on the West Australioan states that “The time-honoured practice of spotting a speed camera by the roadside and hitting the brakes will become pointless when the Government rolls out new cameras which photograph speeders from 100m.”

This is BS – and yet again, is simply fear mongering / scare tactics put out. The technical stats from the manufacture show a MAXIMUM range of 75m – however from experience, we can accurately reveal that the typical detection range is 15 – 40m. The story continues as follows:

Police say by the time lead-footed motorists see one of 14 new Vitronic dual-lens digital cameras, which photograph the front and rear of vehicles, the state-of-the-art devices will have already caught them.

The use of the cameras, which was revealed by The West Australian in February, was launched officially yesterday on Woodrow Avenue, Dianella, where 5000 motorists were caught speeding last year. [I wonder how many accidents occured from these 5000 speeding motorists?] Isn’t the governemnt’s site selection policy meant to be based on fatalities?

The laser-based cameras, which capture digital images from a distance, [of 15 - 75m] are a significant step up from the film-equipped Multanovas, which required vehicles to cross a beam to be caught.

Police Minister Rob Johnson said 430,000 people were caught speeding in WA last year. and WA had 194 fatalities, which represents 0.045% of the (actually caught speeding) 430,000 drivers.

“Our cameras are the first in Australia which are dual-lens cameras and they will also catch up to four lanes of traffic on a freeway,” he said. Sorry Rob, but Victoria also have the Poliscans

The devices would finally catch motorcyclists, who for 20 years had avoided detection because they did not have front number plates.

Police have seven of the cameras, with another seven on order and they are expected to be deployed by the end of June.

State Traffic Commander Michelle Fyfe said the cameras, which consist of two units about 20m apart, could also monitor traffic heading in both directions and could capture vehicles overtaking other traffic

“Anything we can do to slow people down has to be a positive,” she said. Personally we’d like to see more police cars on the streets, that can target dangerous driving, unroad worthy vehicles, etc

Baltimore City is promising refunds after admitting one of its speed cameras has been snapping violators in error.

Brian Struckmeier, of Elkridge, says he was caught by a speed camera in the 2200 block of West Cold Spring Lane about three weeks ago.

After receiving the citation in the mail, Struckmeier paid a $40 fine for driving 44 mph in a posted 30 mph zone.

Soon after paying the ticket, Struckmeier realized a discrepancy.

The posted speed limit is 30 mph for traffic going westbound on that stretch of Cold Spring Lane.

But Struckmeier was traveling eastbound where the speed limit is 35 mph, and the speed camera ticketed him as if he was traveling in the 30 mph zone.

The city’s Department of Transportation said in a statement Tuesday that the citations were issued in error and those who’ve already paid fines will receive notifications of dismissals and a refund.

THE Sunday Times Road Safety Survey attracted 8000 respondents, of which a sample of 2000 were used to compile the date.

Below is the full summary of the Road Safety Survey Results:

• 36% of respondents have had one of their friends or family members killed in a road crash. This increased to 47% for Country residents.

• 34% of respondents have a friend or family member who has been seriously injured or permanently disabled from a road crash. This increased to 44% for Country residents.

• 95% of respondents drive above the designated speed limit, with 56% doing so at least once a week. Similar result for Perth Metro and Country residents.

• Nearly 20% have sped over the designated speed limit by over 40km/h. This was higher for the Under 18 age group (27%) and 18-24 age group (34%).

• 17% of respondents have not worn a seatbelt while being a driver or passenger in a car. this was higher for men than women.

• 86% agree with the law that it be illegal to use a mobile phone while driving.

• 55% have used their mobile phone without a hands free kit or sent text messages while driving.

• 56% of respondents disagree that road safety decision makes should have their salaries docked or contracts cancelled if the road toll rises above a certain level each year. 32% agree.

• West Australian drivers are not rated very highly with 55% saying they are arrogant, 68% saying they are discourteous and 82% saying they are impatient. Only 6% thought they are friendly, 4% thought they are helpful and 7% thought they were tolerant.

• A mixed response towards multanovas and speed cameras. 42% think that WA does need more to deter people from speeding on our roads, however 53% disagree.

• Nearly 60% think that multanovas and speed cameras are used too often for revenue raising.

• Nearly 60% think that multanovas and speed cameras should not only be installed at crash blackspots.

• 56% think that the location of speed cameras should be kept secret.

• 73% would not support speed limit reductions on WA roads.

• 86% agree that we need more traffic police on our roads.

• Mixed response to large trucks and road trains having a lower speed limit on country roads, 53% say Yes, 42% say No.

• 73% think that speed limits in high pedestrian areas should not be reduced by 10km/h to 30km/h.

• 68% think that drivers should not be penalised if they alert other motorists to speed cameras.

• 57% think that the age of getting a learners’ permit should be raised from 16 to 18.

• 80% think that P-plate drivers should be restricted in the number of passengers they can carry.

• Nearly 60% say that P-platers caught speeding should lose their licence.

• 89% say that P-plate drivers should be restricted from driving high-powered vehicles.

• Mixed response for touring young people through morgues as training. 53% of respondents said Yes, while 41% said No.

• 91% say that road safety and driver education should be a mandatory subject in WA schools.

• 55% think that road safety advertising should be more confronting.

• 67% disagree that the level of hoon behaviour has reduced due to police.

• 67% think that impounding penalties for hoon drivers is not a significant enough deterrent.

• The majority of respondents (49%) think that hoons should have their cars sold, with the money put towards road safety campaigns, rather than having their cars confiscated and crushed (20%). 30% said none of these.

• 70% think that if a drunk-driver kills/seriously injures someone they should be charged with murder/attempted murder.

• 70% support the government moves to immediately suspend drivers’ licences if they blow over 0.08 per cent even before they have a chance to defend themselves in court.

• 68% agree that anyone caught drink-driving should be forced to install alcohol interlocks in their cars before they can get their licence back.

• 75% think that if a driver gets banned for life they should not get their licence ever reinstated by the courts.

• 73% think the allowable blood-alcohol limit for all drivers should not be dropped to 0.0%.

• 38% have driven with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

• 34% have driven home after drinking because they found it too difficult to get a taxi/public transport.

• 12% have ever driven after consuming illegal drugs.

• 71% think the speed limit on country roads should not be reduced to 100km/h

• Majority (58%) disagree that roadside barriers should be constructed along all regional roads.

• Mixed views about clearing trees within 5 metres of country roads – 47% said Yes, 46% said No.

• Mixed response about forcing drivers to complete refresher courses – 43% said Yes, 49% said No.

• 80% think that people over the age of 75 should not be forced to turn in their licence.

• Half of respondents think that double demerit campaigns on long weekends are not effective, but only 38% think that they are effective.

• 72% of respondents are not willing to pay tolls on roads if it meant better and safer roads throughout WA.

• 74% think that car manufacturers should be compelled to include safety systems in new cars such as a trip switch that prevents the car from being started if seatbelts are not worn.

• 52% believe State Government should give financial incentives to businesses that buy fleet vehicles with at least a 4 star safety rating or additional safety features.

• 78% think that all major roads should have cycling lanes.

• 72% believe that cyclists in general do not pay enough attention on roads.

• 78% think there should be a limit on the number of cyclists allowed to ride in a pack.

• 87% think that speed limits on suburban roads should not be reduced by 10km/h to 40km/h to protect cyclists.

Add your comments below:

A NEW generation of fixed speed cameras in unconventional roadside locations will target speeding motorists in a major rethink on road safety strategies.

The first hi-tech camera will start snapping motorists in a trial next month.

Up to 20 will be deployed across the state if that is successful. For the first time, the cameras will be positioned on open stretches of road. The state’s 77 red light/speed cameras are now mounted at intersections and pedestrian crossings.

Road Safety Minister Michael O’Brien insisted the initiative was not a “revenue raising” measure, with roadside signs warning of the cameras.

He said only a “screaming idiot” would not be aware of the new cameras. The first of the “mid-block” cameras – so-called because they will be set up midway down a street block – becomes operational next month on Glover Avenue, Mile End, near the Bakewell Underpass – where research shows most motorists ignore the 60km/h speed limit.

“These cameras are a new weapon in the State Government’s arsenal to reduce the road toll and they are a very effective weapon because they won’t cause resentment among motorists,” Mr O’Brien said.

“If the feedback from the Bakewell Underpass camera over the next six months is positive, I will be taking to Cabinet a proposal for a further rollout.

I can’t see why SA would be any different to Victoria, NSW or anywhere else in the world in using these cameras to deal with the road toll.

Mr O’Brien said the cameras would be located “anywhere we have an issue with fatalities and serious casualties” across the state.

“I think the number to eventually be rolled out will be determined by analysis of accident black spots but we could see as many as 18 to 20 new cameras,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said recent research had shown more than half of all motorists were speeding through the underpass.

“A recent seven day trial showed 58.5 per cent of 56,202 west-bound vehicles were exceeding the speed limit, 14 of whom were doing above 100km/h and were suspected of engaging in street racing,” he said.

If this experience was repeated next month when the camera is operating it could potentially raise almost $7 million in speeding fines a week.

But interstate experience shows such a revenue windfall is highly unlikely. Instead, the camera is likely to change driver behaviour so they stay within the speed limit.

Mr O’Brien said NSW data showed the incidence of speeding at locations where new mid-block cameras were installed fell by by 85.5 per cent within 12 months.

This showed the cameras, which cost $100,000, were about saving lives and not raking in revenue.

“The big savings will be in reducing the cost of road deaths, treating injuries and the emotional stress suffered by the community as a result,” Mr O’Brien said.

According to Adelaide University’s Centre for Automotive Safety Research, “black spots” which could be targeted by the cameras include:

WAKEFIELD St, city.

THE PARADE, Norwood

UNLEY Rd, Unley.

PROSPECT Rd, Prospect.

GOODWOOD Rd, various suburbs.

GORGE Rd, Adelaide Hills.

VICTOR Harbor Rd.

PORT Wakefield Rd, various locations.

STURT Hwy – DUKES Hwy.

They also could be erected on expressways such as near the Heysen Tunnels and various locations on the Southern Expressway.

The Centre For Automotive Study said mid-block speed cameras were “very effective” in reducing driver speed and crashes. “They are fixed and signposted so you can put them anywhere on the state’s road network where you have high accident rates and people will know they are there,” centre senior research fellow Dr Jeremy Woolley said.

“So rolling out these new cameras will be an effective way of decreasing the road toll.”

Dr Woolley also highlighted a 2005 evaluation report of fixed mid-block cameras in the UK which found: “Fixed camera sites were more effective at reducing casualties than mobile cameras.”

The state’s largest motoring organisation has also thrown its support behind the Government’s new camera strategy.

The RAA said motorists would appreciate being informed by signs in advance of passing a fixed speed camera. The organisation would be happy to sit down with the police and Government to identify black spots to be targeted by the mid-block cameras.”Our view is speed cameras are a part of the overall road safety strategy,” the RAA’s principal engineer, Peter Tsokas, said.

“And fixed speed cameras have been shown interstate to be effective in reducing speeds, particularly when used in locations which have a history of crashes.”

Once the expected 20 new cameras are installed the total number of fixed and mobile speed detection cameras in SA will reach 115.

The biggest revenue-raising fixed camera is located at the intersection of South Tce and West Tce in the city. Last year motorists caught speeding by the camera were fined a total $1,501,423.

So far this year, 73 people have died on the State’s roads compared with 46 at the same time last year.

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