Drivers warned as Canberra speed camera network extended

Drivers warned as Canberra speed camera network extended

Speeding drivers on ACT roads have been put on notice as the government moves to expand the number of sites where speed cameras will be used from this week.

Justice Minister Shane Rattenbury​ will announce on Monday that changes in road regulations allowing for the use of mobile speed cameras on any Canberra road have come into force, as part of the government's road safety camera strategy.

Speed camera crackdown: ACT Justice Minister Shane Rattenbury's vision is for zero road fatalities.

Speed camera crackdown: ACT Justice Minister Shane Rattenbury's vision is for zero road fatalities.

Under the new rules, mobile speed cameras will now be allowed for use at any location, at any time.

Extended operating times come as camera sites are chosen based on road black spot rankings and data collected by police. Speed and traffic volume surveys will be conducted at the new sites before cameras are deployed, as part of efforts to gather data for placement and for future evaluation of the ACT's speed camera program.

About 30 new mobile camera locations will be assessed by the end of September, with a further 100 sites to be considered each year thereafter.


Mr Rattenbury said more mobile speed cameras will be deployed in school zones around the territory, with 10 of the new sites to be at schools that have a history of complaints and speeding drivers.

"Speeding is a factor in one third of all fatal accidents on ACT roads," he said.

"Speed is responsible for killing or injuring as many people on our roads as alcohol and drugs. Even if some motorists refuse to accept the danger of speeding, I hope the expansion of the mobile camera program prompts them to change their behaviour.

"The government's focus continues to be Vision Zero – no deaths on ACT roads."

This year's ACT budget included more than $1.2 million in funding over four years for increasing speed camera enforcement hours by as much as 120 hours per week, a more than 50 per cent boost.

"When you have 11 people die and over 700 injured each year on our roads, I find it incredible that we still have a situation where people ignore speed limits and show complete disregard for the safety of themselves and other road users," Mr Rattenbury said.

The changes were first flagged in May when Mr Rattenbury released a review of Canberra's speed camera network by the University of New South Wales' specialist transport and road safety unit.

The report showed mobile cameras had reduced speeds by between 6 and 8 per cent from late 1999 until mid-2002, but speeds had risen from lower levels by mid-2006. Speeding and serious crashes increased as drivers got used to the presence of speed cameras.

A 30 per cent drop in the use of mobile cameras was found to be the main cause of increases in speed. Operation of mobile cameras peaked at 700 each month before falling to 500 per month in 2007.

Drivers continued to speed at pre-camera levels as they received fewer speeding fines than they expected.

The government-commissioned study came more than a year after another report by ACT Auditor-General Maxine Cooper found there was no evidence the use of cameras in the ACT reduced speeding.

Dr Cooper's damning report said speed camera reliability in Canberra was poor, with growing maintenance costs and many fines being rejected on appeal.

The network was "unlikely to have the right number of speed cameras in the right places" and had not been developed with a strategic approach, the report said.

Locations for fixed and mobile speed cameras are published online by the government's Justice and Community Safety Directorate.

Tom McIlroy is a political reporter for the Financial Review in the federal press gallery at Parliament House.