NSW Government’s new rules for speed camera operators

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The NSW government has confirmed that speed camera operators will no longer be able to “hide” behind other vehicles or bushes to catch out unsuspecting motorists.

It comes after infuriated drivers accused speed camera operators of deliberately hiding or not displaying their warning signs throughout the year, particularly on rural and regional roads across the state.

The NSW government announced that from February this year every mobile speed camera vehicle would have a large double-sided sign on top, but there have been numerous reports of this not happening or the signs being obscured.

These concerns were raised at last Wednesday’s budget estimates hearings, with Transport for NSW deputy secretary Tara McCarthy confirming they received complaints about these issues.

“The government gave a commitment that from April 1 of this year all vehicles undertaking enforcement of mobile speed cameras would have signs installed. Those vehicles can only be in operation if the sign is in the upright position,” she said.

“We have received a number of reports, not that the sign was in the upright position but, because of growth of foliage, for example, or parking of vehicles in front or behind, at times those signs were not visible at a distance to motorists.”

Ms McCarthy then subsequently revealed that new rules have been introduced to stop this from happening.

Under the new protocols, a speed camera operator must be parked 10 to 15 metres from another vehicle.

They must also send a photo back to prove they are correctly positioned in relation to their surroundings.

“In response to those issues that have been raised, we have been working very closely with the two vendors and we have developed a number of protocols that are now very clear that they are to ensure that those vehicles are parked in a manner where the sign is visible,” Ms McCarthy said.

“They need to look at the foliage, for example; they need to look at any signs that might obscure them; they need to consider the distance that they park in front of or behind vehicles; and a number of other protocols.

“They need to report that back to their base as a verification check that the vehicle is correctly positioned.

“If the site that we have allocated to them is unsuitable because, for example, the foliage has become overgrown, they are not to operate from that site and they are to report that to us.

“It wasn’t in place on April 1. We have responded to community concerns,” Ms McCarthy said.

But she made it clear that even if a speed camera sign was hidden or not displayed, it did not mean a fine would necessarily be waved.

“At the end of the day, if a person commits an offence, then they have committed an offence,” Ms McCarthy said.

“They always have the ability to ask for that offence to be reviewed and individual cases will be considered.”

Data from Revenue NSW shows $75m from all speeding offences past financial year, with $47m of that coming from low-range speeding fine offences (travelling less than 10km over the limit).

This money goes towards road safety and maintenance initiatives.

The NSW government has made it clear camera advisory signs are not legally required in the state but they are a part of a Transport for NSW policy.

Orange MP Philip Donato has previously slammed the government after he received reports of speed cameras operating without signs in his electorate.

“There’s no deterrence in this covert practice, where drivers receive infringements in the mail up to a month after a speeding offence and left to potentially continue driving in excess of the speed limit,” he said.

“The continued use of unmarked mobile speed cameras is a revenue raising exercise – plain and simple.”

State opposition roads spokesman John Graham has called for warning signs to be brought back before and after speed camera vehicles.

“The government has now spent millions of dollars on pop up signs, and introduced new rules to stop covert cameras, but why not just bring back these warning signs,” he said.

“This could have been so much simpler if they had asked the community before they removed these warning signs.”

Originally published as NSW Government introduces new rules in response to speed camera complaints


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