NSW Government Backflips on Speed Camera Warning Signs

by Sonia Hickey
Red light speed camera

The New South Wales Government is set to re-introduce speed camera warning signs across the state from February next year – backflipping on its November 2020 decision to take the signs off the road. 

The removal of warning signs was a highly controversial decision, leading to a backlash from both members of the public and a number of organisations interested in road safety – the former seeing the removal as a revenue raising measure and the latter suggesting it could result in more drivers speeding.

Government relies on report

To justify its removal of the signs, the government cited a report from the government-funded Monash University Accident Research Centre, which suggested that while the signs did get drivers to slow down on approach, they did not deter speeding generally.

The report further suggested that removing the signs could lead to an overall reduction in speeding as drivers would not know where speeding cameras might be, and could therefore drive more slowly in general.

Many believed at the time that the study’s findings were tenuous and highly speculative, and that it was a case of a government-funded organisation paying lip service to its funder.

Speeding fines have increased in the absence of warning signs

Substantiating claims of revenue raising is the fact that speeding fines have dramatically increased since warning signs were removed – a fact which also suggests their removal has not led to motorists driving more slowly in general. 

Figures from August 2021 showed the NSW government had collected a record $21million in fines. And it is important to note that during this period, a significant chunk of the state was in lockdown and confined to a 5km travel radius. 

Under intense pressure for creating a ‘cash cow’ instead of actually making our roads safer, the government will now re-instate speed camera warning signs as of February 2022 – not before the lucrative Christmas Holiday period when there will be thousands of people travelling to see family and friends around New South Wales and interstate. 

Needless to say, will be a strong police presence on the roads over the holiday period, and double-demerit points will be enforced. 

Deaths and injuries

In 2020, speeding was found to be responsible for 136 deaths and 2941 injuries on NSW roads.

The state government has introduced a number of measures  designed to come as close to zero fatalities on our roads by 2050 as possible.

These measures include a range of new penalties in relation to drug and drink driving, as well as high-tech cameras which can detect mobile phone use and other potential driver distractions inside a car, such as passengers watching videos. 

What are the rules about speeding in New South Wales? 

Rule 20 of the NSW Road Rules 2014 states that a driver must not drive at a speed over the speed limit which applies to the road on which they are driving.  

The penalties for speeding can depend on a range of factors, including:

  • The speed you were travelling, compared to the speed limit set for the road / zone you were travelling in,
  • The type of vehicle you were driving or riding,
  • The type / class of licence you hold,
  • Whether double demerits apply, and
  • Whether the case is dealt with by a penalty notice or in court.

Penalties in most cases include fines and demerit points, but driving by more than 30km/h over the speed limit will result in a 3 month licence suspension, while driving more that 45km/h will incur a 6 month suspension.

Challenging an accusation of speeding

There are a number of ways to challenge a speeding fine, which include seeking a review or challenging it in court.

Driver licence suspensions for speeding can also be appeals in court, a process known as a drive licence appeal.

If you believe you have been incorrectly or unfairly accused of a speeding offence, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced traffic lawyer to receive case specific advice about your options and the best way forward. 

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Author

Sonia Hickey

Sonia Hickey is a freelance writer, magazine journalist, and owner of 'Woman with Words'. She has a strong interest in social justice and is a member of the Sydney Criminal Lawyers® content team. Sonia is the winner of the Mondaq Thought Leadership Awards, Autumn 2021.

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