Speed trap goes cold

SPEEDING fine revenue raised from a notorious Gawler West hot spot has declined significantly since its speed limit was changed last year to better suit its locality.

Freedom of Information (FOI) documents obtained by The Bunyip in 2016 revealed Ryde Street netted the State Government almost $433,000 from speeding fines between 2013 and ’15 – the most of any street in the Gawler and surrounding districts.

Motorists would often be caught travelling over the prescribed 50 km/h limit as they descended the Ryde Street hill towards the Jack Cooper Drive/Two Wells Road roundabout, where safety cameras would often be positioned.

However, since the speed limit was altered in July 2016, allowing cars to descend the hill at 80 km/h, speeding fine revenue accrued at the site has dropped considerably.

According to new FOI documents, Ryde Street accrued just $2666 from speeding fines from the beginning of 2016 to May this year, and was visited by speed cameras only three times.

During that period, Williamstown’s Queen Street has been the most targeted location in the Barossa Local Service Area (39 times), delivering almost $340,000 from fines, while Calton Road was the biggest money-spinner in Gawler (eight times, $60,864).

State Opposition Police Minister, and Member for Schubert, Stephan Knoll questioned why cameras were being placed in 50 km/h zones, often in the middle of towns, in what aren’t considered to be “high-risk locations”.

“From the information we have received it is very difficult to see why cameras are placed where they are,” he said.

“This is why we have a policy of reviewing speed camera placement and usage if we are elected next year.

“We want people to have confidence that the cameras are there to improve road safety outcomes and not about raising revenue.”

State Road Safety Minister Chris Picton said it is South Australia Police, not the government, which determines where speed cameras are positioned.

“SAPOL use a range of intelligence to decide where to deploy mobile traffic safety cameras…(including), among other things, analysis of crash history, Traffic Watch complaints, and traffic flow data,” he said.

“There is an undeniable link between excessive vehicle speed and fatalities, and serious injuries, on our roads.

“Speed cameras play a vital role in enforcing speed limits and reducing speeds.

“If you don’t speed, you won’t get caught.”

With road fatalities in the Barossa LSA already at 14 in 2017 – up from six in total last year – Mr Knoll agreed that there is no excuse for speeding, however added that cameras could be used more effectively.

“There is never an excuse for speeding, but at the same time we need our cameras out there helping to change behaviour where accidents occur, so that we can work towards lowering our awful road toll,” he said.

Grady Hudd

@Grady_Hudd

Growing up in Bordertown in the South East, Grady Hudd moved to Adelaide and completed a Bachelor in Journalism before starting his first industry job at the Kaniva Times and Nhill Free Press in Western Victoria at the end of 2012. He moved to Gawler in May 2014 to start work at the Bunyip. Grady has keen interests in footy and cricket, as well as a passion for music and guitar.

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