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Covert speed cameras ‘more effective’

A Monash University academic and an Auditor General’s report have backed covert speed cameras as being more effective at reducing general speeding than high-visiblity cameras.

Monash University Accident Research Centre professor Max Cameron says high-visibility speed cameras are only good for reducing speed at a black spot.

Mobile speed cameras were originally introduced to reduce speed at black spots. NSW still has very prominently signed fixed and mobile speed cameras, Western Australia is now trialling more visible speed cameras and England is going all-out to make the cameras much more visible.

However, Queensland has recently removed the signs warning of mobile speed cameras and a new report by Queensland’s auditor-general has found they are not always deployed at the right time, in the right location, or in the “right mode” (not covert enough).

The report says only performed 16.3 per cent of mobile deployment hours is done covertly because police want to avoid perceptions of revenue raising.

It recommends that a high percentage of covert deployment would prompt a general deterrence to speeding.

Professor Cameron agrees: ”… if you’re trying to affect speeding all the time then the best idea is to make sure the cameras aren’t predictable or apparent and to operate them covertly,” the professor says. “The idea of being conspicuous is really in the wrong direction.”

However, RACQ safety officer Steve Spalding says they would prefer to see more police on patrol.

“Our members say they want more visible policing and patrols. That’s what motorists tell us,” he says.speed cameras

In England, they are going in the opposite direction, introducing bright yellow speed cameras not to catch large numbers of motorists and collect more fines but to get drivers to slow down and reduce accidents in blackspot areas.

The high-visibility speed cameras in Britain have a host of guidelines to make them visible:

  • they are housed in yellow cases;
  • they can’t be obscured by bridges, signs, trees or bushes;
  • they must be visible from 60m in 40mph (65km/h) or less areas and 100m for all other speed limits;
  • warnings and speed limit reminders are within 1km of fixed and mobile camera sights;
  • mobile speed camera users wear fluorescent clothing and vehicles have reflective strips; and
  • camera sites are reviewed at least every six months.

Widely available statistics show when and where accidents occur, so it should be a simple matter of referring to them to correctly locate speeding cameras.

However, it seems that in many cases mobile speed cameras are obscured or placed in places where they collect the most revenue such as the bottom of hills, rather than reducing speed in an accident-prone area.

Copping a speeding fine in the mail two weeks after an offence because the camera was obscured does nothing to reduce speed in a dangerous zone; it simply raises revenue.


  1. Most unusual findings! Whenever I used to drive/ride past a visible radar, the first thing I did was check my speedo and if necessary, adjust my speed accordingly. Whenever I drive/ride past a covert radar, I do nothing (as I don’t know its there). So for me I’m certain the visible radars were more effective at reducing speed.

    I think the findings on the amount of revenue raised by each system is more compelling. Anyone speeding past a visible radar is more likely to slow down (which I thought was the intent) but in doing so, wont receive a ticket in the mail (i.e. lost revenue). Anyone speeding past a covert radar will not slow down (so objective failed) the will receive a ticket in the mail, so the real objective or the radar has been met. Revenue raised!

  2. Another article saying the opposite.

    Funny how Germany who have unlimited speed limit in areas has less death toll than Australia per capita.

    Article below states Australia’s road fatality rates worse than Germany’s :

    Australian government is that obvious it is just out for revenue it is bluntly making up lies. The truth has been exposed so many times.

  3. There are lies dam lies and statistics. Statistics can be made to say whatever you want you just have to ask the wrong questions worded the right way and ignore any data that contradicts what you are trying to make the statistics say.
    It is obvious that the people who make claims about speed cameras saving lives do so only to benefit financially or because they’re pressured into it. If someone were to look into haw this statement came about criminal charges may come from it.
    Genuine statistics show that a properly positioned and sign posted speed camera can cut accidents or deaths at a black spot buy up to four percent, yet engineering solutions can reduce incidents by a minimum of thirty percent. So any idiot who thinks that a speed camera will do and does not implement engineering solutions just to save a buck and gain revenue should be charged with murder and so should all the idiots who think more speed cameras and lower speed limits will reduce the road toll.

  4. About MUARC – from their website:

    “We have many clients both national and international, and have forged long-term relationships with a number of key stakeholders including VicRoads, the Transport Accident Commission, the Department of Justice, and Victoria Police.”

    Are they funded by these “key stakeholders” and if so how are they independent? Just posing the question.

  5. Here we go again. concentrate on speeding, which also happens to make you a quid, and ignore other very important issues like the state of the roads, vehicles that are dangerous (no, being a bit louder isn’t dangerous son, I’m talking bald tyres), not enough driver revivers that are actually open and in sensible places, etc etc.

    Funny that the story coming out of Qld is completely opposite.

    I guess we will know more post-Moto GP at Phillip Island when all the bikes going down come face to face with the long blue arm of sadism and harassment. No doubt every speed camera that can be made functional will be out to get all those mongrels doing 2-3 km/her over the limit. Time for a bex…

  6. Look out for the small VW wagons by the side of the road that are now being used without signs and instead of the larger Merc vans and ILoads that have been used with signs. All part of filling the budget void and general revenue.

  7. Are these private companies hired by the govt (Macquarie Bank etc) if so it is illegal for them to do what they are doing as only the police can give alleged speeding fines/tickets.
    Can some one prove this for me.
    As the vehicles do not have Police markings!!!!!

  8. I can not believe that the debate over where, how and when speed cameras are used. We talk about known ‘black spot’ areas and I ask, how did that area become a black spot? Why do we have to have cameras? the answer is that people speed and should be punished for it. I am 51 years old and as god is my judge, I have never had a ticket for anything in 35 years of driving. It is not hard to do as we are all made aware of the maximum limit for the road by clearly visible signage. Anyone who gets pinged by a camera for speeding can not call it revenue raising because you threw away your money and or licence by not adhering to the rules of the road.

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