From January 1 to July 31, 2021, one thousand, one hundred and one (1,101) drivers in the Clarence Electorate were fined a total of $153,571 for driving between one and 10 kilometres over the speed limit, data provided by NSW Labor has revealed.
Comparatively, only 157 drivers copped the same fine in the preceding six months, July 1 to December 31, 2020, when $19,533 in fines were issued.
That equates to a 786 per cent increase in revenue since the NSW Government announced in November 2020 that it would remove mobile speed camera warning signs.
However, last week the government announced it was now rolling out “fixed warning signs for mobile speed cameras across NSW this month, to remind drivers they can be caught speeding anywhere, anytime”.
Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said that “around 1,000 permanent static signs will supplement messaging on the existing 360 variable message signs and a comprehensive advertising campaign”.
“We are already seeing a change in driver behaviour,” he said, “with 3.5 drivers caught by the cameras per hour of enforcement in June, compared with five drivers per hour in February, and we want that downward trend to continue with these new signs.
“Speeding is the biggest killer on our roads, with almost 50 per cent of fatalities last year caused by someone travelling at an inappropriate speed.”
Meanwhile, NSW Labor described Mr Constance’s announcement as a “partial backflip”.
“While we welcome the use of these general, fixed warning signs, NSW Labor is now calling on the NSW Government to complete the flip and put an end to the secret cameras and blatant cash grab, by returning the use of portable mobile camera warning signs ahead of speed camera vehicles on NSW roads,” Labor’s media release stated.
“Since January 2021, the NSW Government has collected $20.2 million in revenue for speeding fines less than 10km/h.
“And new data release by Revenue NSW shows May 2021 was the highest month on record, with motorists slugged $4 million worth of fines for low range speeding offences of less than 10km per hour.
“We all want to see drivers slow down and our roads safer.
“But the data is showing clearly that warning signs work to change driver behaviour and the fact the government is now putting signs back up is proof of this.”
Former federal member for Page, now state MP for Lismore, Janelle Saffin, said in her media release that “the numbers speak for themselves”.
“The amount of fines issued shows the government’s decision to remove warning signs has not slowed drivers down,” she said.
“The fact of the matter is people slow down when they see proper warning signs – and that makes our roads safe.”
She said that “hidden speed cameras are doing nothing to slow people down” and that warning signs alert drivers “to check speeds and slow down if they need to”.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said he “gets the concerns people are having about [alleged] revenue raising, but we know speed kills and it is a significant factor in crashes”.
He said the changes were “about trying to change driver behaviour” and that it’s “no good if drivers only slow their speed when they see radar in front of them”.
He said he “agreed that we should be targeting areas where there is a high mortality or crash rate”.
He was sceptical that “people driving one or two kilometres above the speed limit would cop a fine”.