Earlier this year, George Tilbury, president of the Western Australia Police Union, criticised the use of speed cameras in the state. Tilbury said police were using concealed cameras to target motorists driving at safe speeds within Perth’s suburbs, sometimes at the bottom of hills, where there are few accidents.
By contrast, in regional WA, where the majority of road fatalities occur, there were virtually no speed cameras except for one each in Albany, Northam, Geraldton and Bunbury.
“Good people within this state often going a couple of kilometres over the speed limit get pinged for speeding,” Mr Tilbury told reporters.
“The question we are asking the commissioner of police and WA government is why are they deploying cameras in locations that raise revenue, yes, but don’t make a difference saving people’s lives in this state.”
Revenue from speeding fines supposedly goes into the WA government Road Trauma Trust, which reportedly held $117 million.
That money should be spent on high visibility policing on the roads, hitting truly dangerous drivers, which was a more effective deterrent than cameras, Tilbury said.
However, 75 dedicated traffic enforcement officers had been recently transferred to general duties, due to WA’s rising crime rate and a lack of government revenue. Police union members working in regional areas told him they were at breaking point and did not have the resources to properly patrol roads, hence police cars rarely being seen compared to in the past.
Tilbury said 75% of fatal crashes were not related to speed but other issues that only police on the roads could detect: seat belts not being worn, dangerous driving and inexperience, and alcohol/drug impairment.
As a reward for speaking the plain truth, Tilbury promptly came under fire from those with a vested interest in the current revenue-raising speed camera scheme. Road Safety Commissioner Kim Papali, for example, described Mr Tilbury’s comments as “ill-informed” and “unfair”. Papali also insisted speed was a major contributor to crashes, but like most road ‘safety’ bureaucrats and police ministers who mindlessly repeat this assertion as if it were a self-evident fact, Papali provided no actual proof (reason being, there is none).
As WA’s current road statistics show, it is Kim Papali who is in fact woefully ill-informed. Instead of unfairly sledging Tilbury, Papali really needs to take a good, hard look at WA’s current road fatality statistics:
As you can see, despite Papali et al’s enthusiasm for speed cameras, the WA road toll has pretty much gone nowhere over the last six years.
And compared to this time last year, thirty more people have died on WA’s roads.
Kim Papali is wrong. George Tilbury is right. Speed cameras aren’t doing a damn thing to lower the road toll. They’re simply a revenue-raising scam being foisted upon a hapless public.
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