Position Paper: Effectiveness of Speed Cameras and Use in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales

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1 Position Paper: Effectiveness of Speed Cameras and Use in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales The Government has committed to the implementation of Toward Zero, including the recommended implementation of world s best practice in speed enforcement to ensure compliance with limits as recommended in the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) reports written by Professor Max Cameron, Development of Strategies for Best Practice in Speed Enforcement in Western Australia, 2006 and confirmed in the associated Supplementary Report Speed cameras are recognised internationally as a best practice road safety countermeasure to reduce speeding, leading to significant reductions in crashes. The benefits of speed cameras are documented in publications from the World Health Organisation, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Austroads and MUARC. Consequently the majority of best practice road safety jurisdictions have extensive speed camera programs, typically using a combination of technologies such as mobile speed cameras, fixed speed cameras, red-light speed cameras (safety cameras) and point to point (average speed enforcement). Furthermore, most jurisdictions support these speed enforcement programs by conducting general community education programs that increase the community s perception of the likelihood of them being detected if they choose to speed. Summary of the evidence There is an extensive amount of worldwide road safety research showing that the use of speed cameras is one of the quickest and most effective ways of reducing the level of speed-related crashes. A World Health Organisation publication titled World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention, for example, shows that speed cameras have provided road safety benefits in Australia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, Europe and other countries because they have been effective in reducing speed <http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2004/ pdf> (refer Table 4.5, page 128). Similarly there is a large body of evidence regarding techniques to improve driver compliance through best practice speed enforcement. Improving speed compliance broadly across the network represents a great challenge, however increasing the amount of enforcement increases compliance and reduces casualties, particularly severe injuries and fatalities. Effectiveness of enforcement can also be improved by making enforcement times and locations as unpredictable as possible, and by extensive use of well-publicised covert and overt enforcement, including covert speed cameras, as well as visible enforcement. Page 1

2 General points to note It should be remembered that fixed speed cameras have a localised effect on travel speeds in the vicinity of the cameras. Speeding deaths occur across the road network. Point-to-point speed camera systems measure average speeds between two or more fixed cameras and have the potential to produce a general effect well beyond the localised effect at overt fixed camera sites. Mobile speed cameras are effective because they can enforce speeding anywhere and at any time, meaning that they reduce speeding across the whole road network, not just on the approach to a fixed speed camera. It should also be remembered that many factors contribute to death and serious injury on our roads, not just speeding. Leading road safety strategies (including WA, NSW and Victoria) acknowledge that actions in the key areas of safe roads and roadsides, safe vehicles, safe road use and safe speeds will bring about the road safety gains desired. The Australian experience The Australian experience has also shown that speed cameras are an effective road safety countermeasure. Victoria Victoria has the most significant speed camera program in Australia that includes the use of fixed speed cameras, red-light speed cameras, point to point and mobile speed cameras. Analysis of the program shows that there has been a steady reduction in casualty crashes which can be attributed to mobile speed camera enforcement. Further, a report prepared by Monash University Accident Research Centre in 2006 found that as a result of the implementation of a mobile speed camera program, crashes in Queensland and Victoria have reduced by at least 25 per cent. The proportion of vehicles passing mobile speed cameras that were detected speeding since the commencement of the Victorian mobile speed camera program in 1990 has also decreased significantly from around 12 per cent in 1990 to less than 1 per cent in Further, in 2000, Victoria introduced a relatively intensive enforcement program, including covert speed cameras, backed by an extensive speed-related public information program. Commencing in December 2000, Victoria progressively introduced a package of measures to improve speed compliance, including: increasing speed camera operating hours by about 50 per cent; changes to make the enforcement more covert and unpredictable; an increase in the number of enforcement sites in use; lowering of the speed camera enforcement tolerance; reduction of the thresholds for penalties applying to different levels of speeding offence; and an increase in speed-related advertising. Page 2

3 An independent comprehensive statistical evaluation of the impact of this package found that by the latter half of 2004 it had resulted in a 10 per cent reduction in casualty crashes and a 27 per cent reduction in deaths [D Elia, A. Newstead, S. Cameron, M. Overall impact during of Victorian speed-related package MUARC (2007)]. New South Wales (NSW) While the NSW speed camera program is not as extensive as the Victorian program, it has proven to be effective. NSW currently has 172 fixed speed cameras located in blackspots and areas of high risk such as school zones. An independent evaluation of NSW fixed speed camera program conducted by ARRB in 2005, found that at speed camera locations in the two years following the introduction of the camera speeding had reduced by 71 per cent leading to a reduction in casualty crashes of 23 per cent and a reduction in fatal crashes of 90 per cent. The NSW fixed speed camera program commenced in 2000 and from 1999 to 2008 the number of speed related fatalities reduced by 38 per cent from 245 to 152, at the same time the overall road toll reduced by 35 per cent from 577 to 374. There have been clear long term benefits of fixed speed cameras in NSW. A summary of the NSW speed related deaths 2002 to 2008 can be found in Attachment 1. During this period the NSW Police also operated a mobile speed camera program, however in 2008 this program stopped operating. The increase in the NSW road toll in 2009 coincided with the end of the operation of the NSW Police Force mobile speed camera program. The increase in the NSW road toll is largely comprised of speed related fatalities with a large number of these occurring on 100 km/h rural roads where the threat of speed enforcement is least. Accordingly a significant mobile speed camera program is being re-introduced in NSW 1. Mobile speed cameras are effective because they can enforce speeding anywhere and at any time, meaning that they reduce speeding across the whole road network, not just on the approach to a fixed speed camera. While the introduction of mobile speed cameras is expected to initially increase the number of speeding infringements in NSW, as was the experience in Victoria, it is expected that this increase will reduce significantly as drivers change their behaviour. Speed enforcement plan for Western Australia (WA) The State s Road Safety Strategy, Towards Zero, recommends the implementation of world s best practice in speed enforcement - as outlined in the MUARC reports written by Professor Max Cameron, Development of Strategies for Best Practice in Speed Enforcement in Western Australia, 2006 and confirmed in the associated Supplementary Report to ensure compliance with current speed limits in an effort to reduce speeds on our roads. Professor Cameron defined a package of speed enforcement programs for the WA road environment which recognises its relatively unique characteristics of vast size and light 1 NSW has a plan to roll out 200 safety cameras that enforce speed and red-light offences at 200 intersection locations across the State over the next four years. Point-to-Point speed enforcement is also being installed on 20 bi-directional enforcement lengths on routes with a history of heavy vehicle crashes. Page 3

4 traffic density, except in Perth. Evidence of the effects on speeds and road trauma in other jurisdictions due to speed camera systems and manual speed enforcement was reviewed and synthesised to provide strategic understanding of their mechanisms. A suitable speed enforcement method for each part of the WA road system was defined and the road trauma reductions and economic benefits were estimated. The recommended speed enforcement package, when fully implemented, is estimated to produce 26 per cent reduction in fatal crashes, 12 per cent reduction in crashes resulting in hospital admission, and 9 per cent reduction in medically-treated injury crashes. An increase in the number and mix of speed camera devices including mobile, fixed, point-to-point (P2P) and hand-held technologies is recommended to deliver at least 12,000 camera hours in total per month 3,000 in regional WA and 9,000 in the metropolitan area. The number of devices required to achieve the desired monthly camera hours was: 57 mobile speed cameras predominantly for use on urban highways and to a lesser extent on rural highways; 24 fixed camera installations (which has been modified to include P2P technology) to be installed in various locations along road lengths throughout WA including, but not limited to, freeways; 264 moving mode (mobile) radar units for speed enforcement on undivided highways and local roads in rural WA (the latter road type being considered to be all undivided); and 131 hand-held laser speed detectors for use on urban local roads, which lie principally in Perth. WA Police are currently working to digitise the existing speed and red-light camera fleets and to achieve effective and efficient infringement management operations. An initial budget of $30 million has been allocated for this task and a Governance Board has been convened as part of this process and includes representation from WA Police, Office of Road Safety (ORS) and the Department of Treasury and Finance. Road Safety Council Position Statement The Road Safety Council acknowledges that a substantial body of national and international evidence unequivocally demonstrates the effectiveness of, and safety benefits associated with, the use of speed enforcement technology. The Council supports the use of such technology by Police to ensure compliance with speed limits and reduce travel speeds on the transport network. Current at: August 2010 Links to MUARC Reports: Final Report Development of Strategies for Best Practice in Speed Enforcement in Western Australia by Max Cameron - September 2006 (88 page PDF 884 KB) Supplementary Report Development of Strategies for Best Practice in Speed Enforcement in Western Australia by Max Cameron - May 2008 (60 page PDF 658 KB) Page 4

5 Attachment 1 Summary of the NSW speed related deaths and as a proportion of the road toll Year Total road deaths Speeding deaths Speeding deaths as % of road toll Five Year Average ( ) * Source: (Road Traffic Authority, 2010) NSW speeding is a factor in about 40 per cent of road deaths. This means around 200 people die each year from speeding in NSW. Speeding was a factor in the deaths of 874 people over the five years In addition to those killed, more than 4,200 people are injured in speed-related crashes each year. The rate of road fatalities in NSW has declined dramatically over the past decade with 2008 the lowest rate on record at 5.3 deaths per head of 100,000 population. The provisional rate for 2009 was similar to that in 2007 (6.5 deaths per head of 100,000 population). Speeding deaths as a percentage of the NSW road toll has been declining since the beginning of the decade, with a resurgence in Page 5

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