Fixed speed cameras saving lives

MOST fixed speed cameras help reduce serious crashes and will remain in place, but five including one on the New England Highway at Lochinvar could be removed for having little road safety benefit, the state government says.

While often criticised by motorists for being revenue raisers, the first annual audit of their performance has found the cameras overwhelmingly reduce fatalities and the state government urged drivers to slow down.

The government released yesterday the results of the review of 97 fixed speed cameras that showed 92 of the devices improved road safety.

The review found there were 61 fatalities in the five years before the cameras were installed, compared with just eight in the latest five-year period since their installation, or an 87per cent drop in road deaths.

But five camera locations were not meeting road safety expectations, and would be more closely examined by the Centre for Road Safety.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the cameras would be removed if they were found to have no benefit, and other safety measures considered.

The questionable cameras include those at the New England Highway at Kootingal and Lochinvar.

NSW Centre for Road Safety acting general manager Marg Prendergast said the report proved the cameras were overwhelmingly beneficial.

‘‘The right camera in the right place can save lives,’’ she said.

One of the highest-earning cameras in the region, on the Pacific Highway at Gateshead, was found to have reduced annual crashes by 69per cent.

The review also looked at mobile speed cameras and red-light safety cameras at intersections.

Early results showed the mobile cameras had reduced fatalities by 19 per cent, and there had been a 21per cent drop in crashes at red-light speed camera sites.

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