Sunday, April 12, 2009


The West Australian government wants to at least double the number of red light cameras at Perth intersections. Road Safety Minister Rob Johnson:
I am convinced they are an important element of a comprehensive road safety strategy.

Red-light cameras are by no means the sole solution, the problem is much bigger than that, but they do help slow drivers down and gradually change attitudes towards speeding.

As for any suggestions that speed and red-light cameras are for revenue-raising, that argument is an absolute nonsense.

It's an argument used by people who haven't lost someone dear to them because of a speeding driver.
Assistant Police Commissioner Steve Brown is also convinced more cameras will improve road safety :
These cameras are not revenue raisers, they are lifesavers.

So many crashes are caused by people ignoring red lights and people do not realise the ramifications of T-bone crashes.

We would rather not be handing out fines, but we will do whatever it takes to slow people down and stop them running red lights.
Messrs Brown and Johnson might be "convinced" that cameras improve road safety but it appears there are no convincing studies showing that red light cameras reduce crashes at intersections. The revenue raising potential of the cameras is well known, however, with the 20 most active of the existing 30 Perth cameras photographing 34,479 violators, resulting in $5,171,850 in fines over a period of approximately 18 months.

If the powers that be are really concerned about improving road safety they should forget about red light cameras and instead do something about road deaths outside the metropolitan area. In the 10 years to 2004 1,146 people were killed on country roads while 860 died on metropolitan roads. To put this in perspective, the 2004 fatal crash rate for Perth was 8.0 per 100,000 passenger vehicles but in rural areas was 33.6 per 100,000 vehicles. Now whereas a number of variables – higher average country driving speeds, for example – make the city-country fatalities comparison iffy, it's clear that more needs to be done to reduce the rural road toll.

Note: Road toll statistics for Western Australia are available here.


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