Crash figures query worth of speed cameras

SPEED cameras on two  main  roads in the Hunter have had little effect on the number of car crashes and casualties in the past five years, with recent data showing an increase in crashes compared with before the cameras were installed.

Crashes and injuries are up at least 18per cent  in McCaffrey Drive at Rankin Park while the Pacific Highway at Sandgate has registered an increase of 31per cent in accidents, according to the annual NSW Speed Camera Performance Review.

The review analysed 96 fixed speed camera locations throughout NSW, identifying five locations, including two in the Hunter, which required a ‘‘comprehensive safety review’’ because of the gradual increase in incidents since the cameras were installed.

It compared statistics for deaths, injuries, casualties, crashes and casualty cost from five years before the cameras were installed  with the most recent five-year period. 

‘‘We are looking at what road safety measures can be introduced to address crash risks, and whether a camera should continue to operate,’’ an RMS spokesman said.

At Sandgate, the review found the number of injuries had slightly decreased (from 22 to 20) while crashes had spiked from 36 to 47 compared with  the five years before the cameras were installed in 2003. 

The casualty cost, which compares the estimated cost of road casualties for the community, had decreased 71per cent from $9.33million to $2.72million.

At Rankin Park, the annual average number of injuries and casualties was up from eight to 10 while car accidents rose from 17 to 20.

McCaffrey Drive, where a speed camera was also installed in 2003, recorded seven accidents and two injuries in 2012, the most since 1999.

Both locations had had  a reduction in speeding offences during the past five years and neither had recorded any deaths, according to the review.

A spokeswoman for Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery’s office said traffic volume had increased significantly along McCaffery Drive in the past 10 years.

‘‘We’re hoping a more comprehensive review will take that into account and we wouldn’t be surprised if the comparison would reduce those percentages,’’ she said.

There was a community campaign in the early 2000s to get the speed camera installed following several serious  accidents.

The review ends on November 29.

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A sign on the Pacific Highway at Sandgate on the way to Maitland warns drivers.

A sign on the Pacific Highway at Sandgate on the way to Maitland warns drivers.