Queensland’s Police Union president Ian Leavers questions whether an increase in the number of speed cameras is anything more than a revenue-raising exercise.
At last – someone else is finally stepping up and calling the speed camera program for what it is…collecting more state revenue under a masquerade of road safety.
Last year police clocked up 70,000 hours of speed camera operations and the rollout of digital cameras mid-2010 is expected to increase that figure considerably.
In addition, 30 per cent of speed camera hours will be able to be completed covertly.
Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson has insisted the expansion of the speed camera program was aimed solely at cutting the road toll. He regularly points out that the only year the toll fell under 300 deaths was in 1998 – after speed cameras were introduced.
But QPU general president Ian Leavers said the public “would not support State Government revenue-raising initiatives that masquerade as road safety programs”. He said there was no doubt speed cameras had their place but it was vital public confidence not be undermined by revenue-raising suspicions.
“There has been a big increase in the money collected by speed cameras in recent years, but there has been little discernible positive impact on the road toll,” he said.
From 2007 to 2008, the number of speeding fines issued in Queensland soared 35 per cent to 663,020, and road fatalities fell 9.2 per cent from 360 to 327. Last year, the toll again climbed to 330 lives lost.
Mr Leavers doubted that more cameras would impact anything other than the amount of money collected.
“It’s time the focus moved more towards increasing traffic enforcement by officers, on bikes and in cars, who are capable of detecting drink-driving, unlicensed or dangerous driving and unroadworthy vehicles,” he said.
Testing has begun at seven new speed-camera locations throughout southeast Queensland with a view to them being operational by mid-2010.
Speed and red-light cameras are being trialled at the corner of Waterworks Rd and Jubilee Tce, Ashgrove, and Beaudesert and Compton roads, Calamvale.
Three fixed speed cameras are being tested at the Pacific Motorway at Loganholme, the Gateway Arterial at Nudgee and the Clem7 Tunnel between Woolloongabba and Bowen Hills. A point-to-point camera system is on trial on the Bruce Highway between Caloundra Rd and Wild Horse Mountain at Beerburrum.