Speed cameras have their share of critics, but they do reduce crashes and save lives. It's not widely understood that speed cameras are sited on stretches of road that have a history of speed-related crashes (black spots) or are high risk areas, for example outside schools.
There are several different types of speed camera: fixed and mounted on the roadside, and mobile cameras operated from the back of parked patrol cars (marked and unmarked).
Did you know?
In 2006 there were 432,735 speed camera infringements, compared to 305,301 issued by Police officers.
When deciding where to locate fixed cameras, the Police consult with councils, the New Zealand Transport Agency and the local AA district. The Police also carry out speed enforcement using handheld devices on the roadside.
AA speaking up for motorists
It's important to drive to the conditions and within the speed limit at all times. Speed limits need to be appropriate for the road conditions, and enforced by the Police in an active and visible manner. Speed cameras can contribute to this goal. While most motorists support the use of speed cameras as a speed enforcement tool, they have concerns about "fair use".
AA guidelines for fair use of speed cameras
To ensure speed cameras are used fairly and keep the support of motorists, the AA recommends that:
- Priority for the location of speed cameras is given to areas and times where there is increased speed-related crash risk
- Speed camera sites are regularly reviewed to ensure they represent the best use of Police resources for preventing crashes
- The "anytime, anywhere" approach to the use of speed cameras taken by the Police be kept. However, the AA supports the use of speed camera area warning signs because they remind motorists that they're entering an area where extra care and attention is required
- The speed limit is clearly signposted and visible to motorists
- Changes in speed zones are clearly signposted
- The speed limit at the camera site is appropriate for the road The threshold at which a speed camera photo is triggered is fair and reasonable for that section of road
- Cameras are not to be used for revenue gathering
We recommend that all revenue collected from speed camera fines is directed to road safety initiatives, including driver education and safety promotion. In particular, lwe'd ike the revenue collected from speed cameras near schools (Speed Kills Kids campaign) to be used to fund flashing 40 km/h school zone signs.
Using revenue for road safety initiatives will not only improve road safety but will also help to overcome public scepticism that speed cameras are more concerned with generating revenue than saving lives.
What AA Members are saying
In a March 2005 Survey:
- 70% of AA Members support the use of speed cameras (18% strongly support them)
- 60% consider their main purpose is road safety
- 40% consider their main purpose is generating revenue
- 93% want the revenue collected spent on road safety
- 82% consider speed cameras should be located "where speeding is most dangerous", as opposed to where they will catch people out