Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Lights Camera.........Money!

Ihave no idea if America has speed cameras. Here in Oz, they are quite prevelant in each of our major capital cities. After living in a city for a period of time,one becomes quite knowledgable as to where these cameras are situated and slow down accordingly. I have not been caught by a speed camera for around 20 years. The last time i was living in Melboune, there were a number on my way to work so i knew when to do the right thing. However this particular one nabbed me one day. I was waiting to make a right hand turn (left if your American!!) and was about 4 cars back. The arrow to turn came on and went off so quickly, it caught me going through the intersection on an amber going to red arrow. Around 2 weeks later i recieved a photo of me in my car going through the intersection on a red arrow.....$$$$$$ bastards!
It has become a bizarre feature on the nightly bulletins.
We have a problem with speed cameras. It is a matter of trust and belief. Is the state's desire to raise revenue through speeding fines now perceived as more of a priority than the rational objective of saving lives?
In Victoria this week a Liberal MP, through Freedom of Information laws, discovered that "speed cameras are almost never used in the early hours, despite young drivers being more at risk of collision then".
It is something most of us would have suspected. Sadly, we now know it to be true.
In South Australia we recently heard how mobile cameras are being increased by more than three times their present number, from 13 to 48 over the next few years.
During the past 10 years, South Australia's speeding fines have increased from about 10,000 a month to up to 25,000 a month.
And now decisions that are being made elsewhere, for example in Britain, are raising questions about the arguments of our state governments.
Earlier this month, The Times of London splashed on its front page "March of speed cameras halted".
The report said: "Cameras will no longer be used as revenue-raising devices and the system of recycling speeding fines to fund increasing numbers of cameras is to be abolished."
The report revealed camera partnerships, which include police forces and local authorities, will be ordered to consider every other option for improving safety and will only be allowed to install a camera as a last resort.
Ministers believe that the 'cash for cameras' scheme, under which forces keep a proportion of camera fines to pay for more cameras, has resulted in widespread distrust of the speed enforcement system.
While I am reliably informed that camera revenues in South Australia do not go to pay for more cameras, I am told by others that it is difficult to prove that is the case. But, then again, the issue of whether increased revenues in South Australia pay for more cameras or not, is perhaps a moot point. How they are being funded does not matter. The fact is they are. The question is should there be more cameras?
This issue goes unchallenged all too often. The challenger is seen as undermining the campaign for safety on our roads. Dismissed as irresponsible, it is an all-too-easy defence for our governments.
But the saturation of the state's roads with cameras must be up for review. It must be an issue in the forthcoming election campaign, with reasoned argument avoiding raw emotion challenging the status quo.
State politicians should go to Lincolnshire in England. The county's road safety team is to be the model for the British Government's new approach to speed enforcement, as it has one of the best records for reducing casualties. Perhaps if Oz ministers take a leaf out of our English cousins it may save lives and money.

till next time, Michelle.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home