By Clair Morton
Last updated on: February 26, 2018 at 12:26 pm
If you want to avoid a fine today, don’t speed down the South-Eastern Freeway. The fixed safety camera at Leawood Gardens has been by far the government’s top earner for three years in a row.
Last year alone, 8401 offences were captured by the camera, which raised $3,979,764.
Another SE Freeway camera positioned at Crafers registered the second-highest number of offenders, with 4255 offences raking in more than $2 million in fine revenue.
Prompted by a concern that some motorists were not getting the message to slow down, RAA has been calling for additional speed camera signage on the SE Freeway since 2015, when the Leawood Gardens camera was first highlighted as SA’s most lucrative camera.
While things are yet to change, this is the sort of thing RAA anticipates a safety camera commissioner would be able look into as an independent regulator.
RAA General Manager Engagement and Innovation Penny Gale said RAA had long been calling for greater transparency and scrutiny of the operation of the safety camera network.
This year we’ve upped the ante, including it as one of the top four priorities RAA would like to see SA politicians commit to ahead of the state election in March.
“We want all political parties to commit to an independent commissioner that will ensure any cameras operate fairly and improve road safety, rather than just raise revenue,” Ms Gale said.
Caught on camera
The total amount generated by fixed safety cameras in SA last year.
So far, Nick Xenophon’s party SA Best and the Dignity Party have backed our calls for an independent commissioner, while the Liberals have committed to an audit of speed cameras in the first 100 days, if elected.
The Greens said the initiative has great potential to improve the public’s acceptance of safety cameras, particularly where there is a strong suspicion that safety is a secondary consideration to revenue-raising.
SA Labor, meanwhile, has announced a new role for the Motor Accident Commission, as part of the Road Safety Action Plan, to undertake reviews of South Australia’s safety camera network and provide transparent reporting to the community on its findings.
“We will meet with MAC this week to discuss how this role will operate, as we want to ensure that it will give our members confidence that the camera network is there to improve road safety, not raise revenue,” Ms Gale said.
“While this announcement is a good start, it’s possible that South Australians may still need an actual independent commissioner.”