More speed cameras for Hunter roads

HUNTER motorists who speed will soon face a greater risk of getting caught, with the state government to boost the number of mobile speed cameras on roads and dual red-light speed cameras at intersections.

The state’s six existing mobile speed camera vehicles will begin monitoring more than 500 extra locations across NSW, including 50 in the Hunter.

By July next year, the overall number of mobile speed cameras will be expanded to 45 vehicles operating at 2500 locations for 7000 hours a month, a seven-fold increase in hours of operation.

And by the end of 2014, dual red-light speed cameras would be operating at 200 sites in the state, up from 91 now.

Announcing the changes yesterday, Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the government would also double the number of warning signs and more clearly identify camera vehicles so motorists did not feel caught out by ‘‘tricky’’ cameras.

Signs would be made bigger, and those warning of dual cameras would be changed to say ‘‘red light speed camera ahead’’ from the current ‘‘safety camera ahead’’.

Existing dual cameras at intersections in Newcastle that have so far sent only warnings to speeding motorists would start issuing fines as soon as new signs were installed.

The strategy, part of an effort to cut the road toll of more than 170 lives a year, would also entail placing all money raised from cameras into a fund for spending on road safety, Mr Gay said.

But he acknowledged the move to increase camera numbers would not be ‘‘universally loved’’.

‘‘There will be some people that are unhappy, but I think by and large there will be a lot of people that are happy because finally they’ve seen a government that’s not going to be tricky, that’s going to be up-front,’’ Mr Gay said.

Opposition leader John Robertson said the extra cameras were a broken promise from Premier Barry O’Farrell, who had been critical of treating motorists as ‘‘cash cows’’.

‘‘There’s never been an excuse for speeding on our roads, [but] this is a straight-out cash grab by Barry O’Farrell on the motorists of NSW,’’ Mr Robertson said.

Mr Gay said the government expected camera earnings to peak at $180million before they began to fall, and it would still need to contribute money from consolidated funds to maintain the current level of road safety spending.

The NRMA backed the changes, with chief executive Tony Stuart saying a distinct fund would reassure motorists money from fines was being spent on road safety.

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