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'Save the signs': NRMA opposes removing “essential” speed camera signage

The National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA) has slammed a proposal by the NSW government to remove speed camera warning signs from 110 locations across the state.  Online critics have described the proposal as “blatant revenue raising.” 

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  "Defeats the purpose": NSW Transport and 
      Roads Minister Andrew Constance

NSW Transport and Roads Minister Andrew Constance says the NSW road death toll is rising and the government is looking at a range of strategies to stop unnecessary deaths on the road. Constance is working with Monash University on a strategy to remove the signs, which are placed about 250 metres before the speed cameras. 

There have been 310 deaths on NSW roads so far this year, with 347 people killed in 2018. The Minister says speeding accounts for about 20 per cent of deaths on the road.

"Expert advice says we could save 54 lives a year by removing speed camera warning signs," Constance said in a statement. "We will consider any advice that tells us we can save lives. If we continue to have signage, that defeats the purpose of changing people's behaviour.”

But the NRMA has warned against removing the signs, describing them as a "necessary and essential" part of efforts to prevent road deaths.

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury says warning signs and cameras are strategically placed in known dangerous locations and reduce risk taking.

"The warning signs act as a crucial education tool to alert motorists that they're driving in dangerous locations where people have been killed or injured and obviously what we want them to do is slow down," Khoury told reporters. 

He says he has no doubt that removing warning signs would result in more fines, and believes that putting more police officers on the roads would make a "huge difference" to safety, rather than the removal of signs. “Victoria doesn't have warning signs and their road toll is terrible,” Khoury says. 

NSW drivers have paid $1.12 billion in fines since 2012. In the last year alone, Sydney drivers have received $104 million in speed camera fines.

Publisher's note: Quite apart from reducing the government spend on road safety signage; this decision defies logic. Mr Constance cites 'expert advice' that 'we could save 54 lives a year by removing speed camera warning signs.' Please tell us who the 'experts' are Mr Constance, and what methodology they came up with that 54 lives will be saved by removing safety signs alerting drivers to think about their speed? I and everyone I have spoken too say that, when a speed camera sign is seen, the first reaction is to ensure current speed is below the limit - therefore the signs encourage slower driving. In the event speed has crept above the limit - such as a downhill gradient - braking is applied - again reducing speed and resulting is safer driving. We are 100% behind the NMRA on this one - were they the 'experts'; you consulted? Obviously not, so why did you not consult the recognised experts in all things relating to safe driving in NSW?

Victorian TAC figures show that, tragically, road deaths in that state are up 31.1% so far in 2019 over 2018 - and they do not have speed camera warning signs. NSW is about on par with 2018 fatalities. So the logic and 'expert advice' appears flawed, would you not agree?

If your decision to take down speed camera warning signs does not result in a reduction in road fatalities in NSW or, heaven forbid, actually increases them - what then Mr Constance? Time for a re-think?