Speed and red light cameras are making more money than ever before, with one camera in NSW raking in more than half a million dollars in one month alone.
Meanwhile, motorists in Victoria are fined every 20 seconds and more than 100 Brisbanites are fined every day.
While the figures alone are staggering, the fluctuations in the number of fines delivered by some cameras have raised alarm bells about their functionality, according to an analysis in the Daily Telegraph.
One NSW camera reportedly took home $641,000 in a month followed by $35,000 the next month.
So, are our cameras dodgy?
Peter Khoury, head of media at the NRMA said while the company was “stunned” by the news, there could also be a very simple explanation.
“To see those sorts of drops from one month to the next was obviously very surprising,” he told Your Money Live.
But because speed and red light cameras are audited annually to check for any problems, he doesn’t believe it’s a technical issue.
“There’s a chance that it could have occurred during the month that the cameras were switched off for a tech check,” he said.
Another cause may have been simply that the road was closed off or there was significant congestion due to roadworks.
However, he says that although the camera technology is “pretty accurate,” if a person has reason to believe they’ve received a false ticket, they should order a copy of the photograph and contest the fine.
Where are the busiest cameras?
The cameras delivering the most fines in Australia aren’t where you might think.
While our major motorways might seem like the obvious guess, the busiest speed and red light cameras tend to be in more suburban areas, according to Khoury.
And the number one spot consistently goes to Sydney’s Eastern Distributor tunnel beneath the city’s CBD.
“Unfortunately, what you see is the top five tend to be the same or very similar,” he said.
“Which begs the question to the government… If you know that there are locations that are consistently catching people speeding at high levels, let’s look at the location, look at what we can do to make it safer,”
“Because there’s no point just putting your feet up and fining people, that’s not going to save lives.”
“What’s important is that they’re in places where they’re going to save lives and not just raise revenue.”
Mobile photo targeting
The amount Australian drivers are being fined is unlikely to drop any time soon.
In fact, the number of fines and the associated costs delivered by road cameras could soon jump further, with new technology emerging that will be able to catch drivers using their mobile phones.
“It comes as the result of a report last year by the NRMA which looked at the distraction caused by people looking at their phones behind the wheel. It’s extremely dangerous,” Khoury said.
“Unfortunately, it is all too common… It’s extremely dangerous and frustrating if you’re driving behind someone who is not focused on what’s in front of them,”
“You drive like you’re drunk.”
Watch the full interview in the video above.
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