NSW Speed Camera Signage Reinstatement Ignores the Evidence

The Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS) is disappointed and disheartened by the NSW Government decision to reinstate mobile speed camera signage. The announcement made by NSW Minister for Metropolitan Roads Natalie Ward this week identifies that the decision was made in response to strong community feedback, rather than the evidence.

This announcement has been made after a series of reversals on the subject by the state government. In 2018 the Auditor General called for signage to be reviewed as part of the report on Mobile Speed Cameras.

Speed camera signage removal was implemented in NSW in October 2020 on the basis of independent analysis by Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and informed by best practice from other jurisdictions. Advance warnings signs for mobile speed camera enforcement locations are not used anywhere else in Australia.

“NSW was the only jurisdiction that had mandatory placement of advanced warning signs at mobile camera enforcement locations. The reinstatement of the signs means NSW is again out of step with the rest of the country,” commented ACRS CEO Dr Ingrid Johnston.The decision to reintroduce speed camera warning signage ignores the MUARC modelling. This modelling estimates between 34 to 43 lives could be saved each year and some 600 serious injuries prevented in NSW with the expansion of the mobile speed camera operations to new locations and the use of a randomised schedule.

“The NSW Government has responded to public pressure rather than evidence on this issue. The evidence clearly shows that the unpredictable deployment of mobile speed cameras is crucial to realising their potential for reducing road trauma. The government’s decision to undo this potential life saving measure is extremely disappointing,” stated Dr Johnston.

“ACRS calls on all governments to make evidence-based road safety decisions, rather than on popular opinion or general sentiment. Speed is a critical factor in the cause and the severity of road crashes, and they can occur anywhere on the road network.  We want drivers to obey speed limits everywhere, not just when they know a speed camera is ahead.  The evidence on mobile speed camera signage is clear and the NSW Government has chosen to ignore it. Not knowing the location of a speed camera is only a problem for motorists if they exceed the speed limit.” Dr Johnston concluded.