Improving Road Safety: School Zones

Today the Auditor-General, Mr Peter Achterstraat, released his report on the Road and Traffic Authority’s fixed, mobile and safety cameras.

'Overall, speed cameras change driver behaviour and improve road safety. Fixed speed cameras reduce crashes and speeding', Mr Achterstraat said.

'While the overall impact of speed cameras has been positive, 38 of the 141 fixed speed cameras need to be closely examined as they appear to have no significant road safety benefit. Other road safety measures may be needed for these sites', Mr Achterstraat said. 

'I support RTA’s plans to review and relocate these cameras if other more appropriate road safety measures can be used', he added.

'Speed cameras save lives. RTA should place them where they work; remove or replace them with other measures when they don’t', Mr Achterstraat said. 

'Speed cameras must be integrated with other road safety measures and regularly reviewed to take into account changing road conditions and driver behaviour', he added.

The audit found that:

  • total crashes and injuries each fell 26 per cent, and fatalities fell by more than two-thirds, in the three years after the installation of fixed speed camera. Long term trends show that these reductions have been maintained

  • the average number of speeding fines per fixed and safety cameras declines over time

  • fixed and safety speed cameras were located in areas with high road safety risk.

RTA had a short timeframe to roll-out mobile cameras so it used sites based on former NSW Police locations. It has since identified other locations with higher crash numbers which it plans to use in the future.

It is too soon to determine the impact of safety and mobile speed cameras which were only introduced last year, although early results indicate that drivers are slowing down. Also all safety cameras will now detect people driving over the limit.

'Some members of the public view speed cameras as revenue-raisers only. We found no evidence that revenue is a factor in determining where to locate cameras', Mr Achterstraat said. 'Revenue from speed cameras reduces the longer they operate', he added.

The RTA must be more transparent.

'If a camera is there to improve road safety, RTA must publically provide the information to support that decision', Mr Achterstraat said. 'They need to publicise trends in crashes, revenue, and speeding or infringement data for each speed camera', he added

Further Information

Please contact Barry Underwood, Executive Officer, on 9275 7220 or 0403 073 664; email: