NSW set to remove speed camera warning signs

The state's motorists are a step closer to losing signs warning them about both fixed and mobile speed cameras.

The government, which just a year ago rejected any suggestions the speed camera 250m-ahead warning signs would go, is now considering getting rid of them as well those warning of its network of fixed speed cameras.

The Pedestrian Council's Harold Scruby today said that it was about time.

He said the idea was to stop speeding and all warning signs did was to slow motorists down for a short time, then they can speed again.

"It was a joke," Mr Scruby said.

"We have been campaigning for this for seven years."

A mobile speed camera warning on Henry Lawson Drive
A mobile speed camera warning on Henry Lawson Drive


It’s unclear if the change will extend to fixed speed cameras, like these pictured in Moore Park. Picture: Damian Shaw
It’s unclear if the change will extend to fixed speed cameras, like these pictured in Moore Park. Picture: Damian Shaw


But the NRMA warned that the visibility of the cameras was part of the deterrent to speeding motorists and they should not be seen as revenue-raisers.

"Obviously we don't support it," the NRMA's Peter Khoury said today.

He said that road rules had to have the support of motorists.

"We don't want a backlash against the cameras. We support the use of mobile speed cameras and we don't want the public to see them as revenue-raisers," he said.

"Most motorist are not reckless."

He said the best deterrent to speeding and bad behaviour on the roads were clearly-marked police vehicles.

Removing warning signs for mobile speed cameras - those that are housed in four-wheel drives and operated through government agencies - was recommended in the last NSW Auditor General's report.

It is understood that the warning signs for fixed cameras will remain.

Auditor General Margaret Crawford said in her report that the system did not effectively prevent drivers from speeding.

She also criticised the placing of mobile speed cameras because they were supposed to be set up at random.

Harold Scruby.
Harold Scruby.

But 60 locations were visited more than 500 times in the last five years, eight visited more than a thousand times and one visited 1,768 times.

"There is limited oversight of the way the system is scheduling MSC sessions with a relatively small number of MSC sites being visited a high number of times," the report said.

"The signage that warns drivers of upcoming speed cameras should no longer be displayed."

The Auditor-General's report suggested that mobile speed cameras were not having an impact on around-the-clock behaviour.

"General speed surveys indicate 28 per cent of drivers travel at up to 10km/h over the limit and over five per cent, or one in 20 drivers, at more than 10km/h over," the report said.

"However less than 0.1 per cent, or one in 1,000 drivers, that pass a mobile speed camera in NSW is fined," it goes on, suggesting the cameras aren't actually having an impact on around-the-clock driver behaviour.".

At the time, in October 2018, the then-Minister for Transport and Roads, Melinda Pavey, assured motorists this would not happen.

"It's not going to happen, it's not our policy," a spokesman said at the time. "We're not going to start pulling down signs like they do in Victoria."

Say goodbye to these warnings …
Say goodbye to these warnings …

A comment has been sought from the current minister, Andrew Constance.

The current law is that a warning sign must be placed 250 metres ahead of the mobile speed camera to caution drivers that it is coming up.

The Auditor-General's report said there were 1,024 locations approved for use by MSCs, but only around 940 of these had suitable sites and of those only 650 were used in the six months to December 2017.

But it also said there was evidence of a reduction in fatal and serious crashes at the 30 best-performing mobile speed camera­ locations.

The mobile speed cameras were introduced by a state Labor government in 2010 without warning sings.