4 August 2021

New Civic speed cameras 44-times more lucrative, Parton claims

| Dominic Giannini
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Speed camera

The three Civic cameras have raked in $1.6 million a week in speeding fines since they began enforcing the lower speed limits. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

The speed cameras along Northbourne enforcing the recently amended speed limit have been described as having a “perverse outcome” after concerns were raised by motorists about a lack of information about the changes.

One driver was fined seven times over a 10-day period in July. He will likely lose his licence and his job.

“Life has been a struggle through the COVID year and now this. I do not want to be unemployed but how will I get a job without a licence?” he said.

A second driver, a disability support pensioner who described herself as an overly cautious driver, was also fined $300, which she will struggle to pay with only $1.29 in savings.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly yesterday (3 August) on behalf of the two motorists, Shadow Transport Minister Mark Parton said the fact that the three Civic cameras were raking in $1.6 million a week in speeding fines were proof that the government’s information campaign alerting motorists to the change had failed.

Shadow Transport Minister Mark Parton

Shadow Transport Minister Mark Parton said a lack of warning to motorists about the lowered speed limit resulted in a “perverse outcome”. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Before the speed limits were lowered from 60 km/h to 40 km/h, the ACT’s most lucrative camera was northbound on the Monaro Highway at Hume. That camera brought in $1.2 million in the eight months to May, according to Mr Parton.

On a weekly basis, the three Civic cameras have raised 44 times the second most lucrative speeding camera location in the Territory.

A two week grace period where fines were not issued for breaches caught more than 20,000 speeding motorists, but they were not directly notified of their breaches.

Almost 1260 drivers were caught speeding on the first-day speed cameras in Civic were adjusted to issue fines at the start of July.

READ MORE More than 1200 drivers caught speeding in Civic on first day of fines

About 6100 fines, which start at $260 and range up to $1830, are being issued by the cameras weekly.

Motorists caught speeding by between 15 and 30 km/h face a $438 fine and incurred three demerit points.

Motorists were not warned if they had been caught during the two-week amnesty, drawing criticism from the NRMA.

Mr Parton echoed the NRMA’s concerns, saying there was little value in having a grace period when the Civic speed zones were lowered if motorists were not told about their breaches.

“Thousands of people have been fined and for the vast majority of those, there was no intent to break the law,” Mr Parton said.

“Irrespective of the signage and any information campaign, it is clear that that campaign did not work. This has been an extremely perverse outcome.”

Mr Parton said he would write to the relevant Minister about the plight of the motorists that contacted his office with concerns.

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Perry Kingston-Lee1:40 am 12 Aug 21

Got $444 fine. Northbourne Ave.
58 in a 40
Visit ACT once a year.
Not anymore.

How sad for you Perry; there’ll be a lot of cities you can no longer visit by private motor vehicle if you can’t stick to the speed limit. Oh well you can always catch public transport.

Malcolm Roxburgh12:34 pm 05 Aug 21

The ACT did NOT vote for self government be Liberal or Labor.

Seriously, Malcolm Roxburgh? ACY has had self-government since 1988 – that’s 33 years. Probably time you let it go and moved on!

Some sympathy for the non serial transgressors here – a few months back in momentarily exceeding 40 kph while moving through the Northbourne and Barry intersection, I thought I’d committed my only traffic offence (OK, pinged offence) in over 50 years of driving (a combo of good management and only a little luck), only to be immensely relieved to find it was during the period of grace.

The ten speed cameras that raise the most revenue should have the posted speed for that location reviewed. I do not regard Canberra drivers as crazy law breakers. There is no mechanism for speed limits to be reviewed.
As to the question of replacing cars, the ACT Govt is subsidising electric vehicles. This city was designed for cars (very modern in 1911) and they are not going away any time soon.

No, actually, Ian, Canberra was not designed for cars. It was designed for people. It just happened to be designed at a time when private motor vehicle use was on the rise. However the Griffens’ design was strongly in favour of pedestrian activity and rail use as well as motor vehicles.

I don’t drive down to Civic very often, probably once every couple of months, but I consider myself fairly well informed. I didn’t hear anything about the change to speed limits in civic until after I received my fine for $300, which I got at 7AM driving down to a charity event, at 55KPH on a Sunday morning when there was no traffic, pedestrians or cyclists on the road. It seemed pretty unfair to me.

Obviously you don’t drive along that road regularly.

When they changed it besides the clearly visible 40km/h speed signs which btw is the only notice ANYONE should expect they also had those big mobile electronic signs highlighting the change. These were up for weeks either side of the change and they also waived fines for the first 3 months.

We can of course debate the need for the 40km/h speed limit until the cows come home but frankly anyone who gets caught only has themselves to blame. And saying you didn’t get notice is pure nonsense.

It is ludicrous to have a speed limit of 40 klm/hr on the major thoroughfare through Canberra. Some policing of pedestrians, many of whom totally disregard the walk signs, would be more appropriate.
The other issue is the inappropriately placed signage in what is a busy area where drivers are warily on the lookout for cyclists, scooters and pedestrians walking against red signs. The speed limit needs to be in large lettering on the road after each intersection to remind drivers turning onto Northborne.

And the windscreen washers (who the authorities obviously don’t have a problem with) walking through moving traffic, extorting and otherwise distracting motorists.

I think it’s unfair that you can be a 15+ over the limit, super speeder hooligan for doing what was legal a month ago. Either make the limit 45 km/h so that if you’re doing 60, at least it’s a low tier fine, or make the low tier fines up to 20+. Ridiculous that what was a month ago legal is now a high range speeding offence.

It was more than a month ago the limit changed. When they made the change they gave 3 month grace of not fining anyone.

Tom Worthington4:13 pm 04 Aug 21

I found the speed limits in Civic confusing. Approaching from Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, there were roadworks, so the speed went down to 40, then for about 30 metres it went up again, then down to 40 again through Civic.

Roadwork protocols (and enforcement of the responsibilities of contractors) require urgent attention throughout the country. Often confusing and sometimes dangerous.

There are two issues here – so let’s not conflate them. The first issue is whether there was adequate notice & visible signage. IMHO there was plenty of adequate notice – the bright flashing road signs months leading to the implementation in every direction was enough. The actual sign-posted speed limits – also enough.
The second issue is whether or not 40kph is too low. Again IMHO, yes – way too low. 40kmp in front of the ANU – where it’s four lanes in each direction – to what end? The stated aim is to reduce accidents with pedestrians and bicyclists – if that were true, then why not attack it from their end at least as well – like fining J-walkers and red-light-running bicyclists?
It’s the second issue that is the genuinely contentious one – at what point do drivers stop taking speed signs seriously? It is clear to me at least, that this is not a safety issue but a revenue raising tool.
Having said all that – we, the ACT electorates, are getting what we voted for.

A car travelling at 40km/h is enough to kill a pedestrian. IMO it is reasonable especially as the Canberra population grows. We can’t take advantage of international students who may not be aware of J-walking rules and especially those coming from European countries where there is a strong bicycle culture and awareness of riders on the road. It is a busy intersection at Northbourne and the traffic is sensibly slowed to 40 before that point. It’s Canberra’s CBD essentially and we need to move away from cars as the dominant form of transportation.

I only go through this intersection every few months, so where is the notice for me? I’ve been living here for decades, and for me this is zero notice. Got pinged 13 over the limit, thank god it wasn’t 15.

I cycle everywhere, I do maybe 50K a week in my car, expect on the Sunday morning I got pinged doing 55 going through Civic. IMO it is badly signed and the speed limit unnecessarily low. The fact so many people have been caught shows this to be the case I think.

Overly cautious but not cautious enough to read the traffic signs. In any case, this comes down to The Greens advocating for lower speeds in inner-Canberra to pursue public transport, cycling and pedestrian agendas.

The lady on the DSP can apply for withdrawal or waiver of the fine , and additionally anyone can if they have no previous fines in the last 5 years. This is what I was told at Access Canberra recently. Also fines should be income based so a high income earner actually gets a penalty , because penalties do not deter rich people from commiting offences they only punish the poor.

Janette Hugs7:56 pm 04 Aug 21

I’m on DSP and recently moved to Canberra. I’ve only once driven through Civic in December. Since then due to circumstances I haven’t done much driving and it was usually close to home. I don’t recall seeing any advertising about the speed changing. I recently had to go to Sydney but returned to do compulsory quarantine for 2 weeks. During that time I attended drive thru COVID-19 testing and on my way home got pinged, first I knew was when I received infringement notice $301.00. Ouch I’ve been driving for 45 years, never had any type of fine and never received a demerit point. I explained all this to Access Canberra and the fact that the only money I have is my fortnightly DSP payments. I received a very cold matter of fact reply that there was plenty of advertising and had to accept the fine. I’m now having fortnightly deductions from my pension and will be paid off next year. Not happy Jan.

Good, this will hopefully recoup some of the money spent on the light rail. Speeding fines are a tax on the stupid. Claiming ignorance is not an excuse and equivalent to those flaunting COVID restrictions. Speeding also endangers lives just the same but funny public opinion is skewed against parking and speeding fines but everyone is all up in arms against anti-lockdown protestors.

Perhaps you can link to the research showing the specific amount of car crashes and injuries in this particular area that justified the need to change the speed limits?

The ridiculously simplistic “speed kills” mantra is part of the problem not the solution to reducing deaths and injuries on our roads.

Funny how a month ago it wasn’t endangering, but now it is. Anyway, I agree to an extent. I got pinged for the first time in maybe a decade, so I guess others are contributing more than me.

Finagen_erection7:28 pm 04 Aug 21

He didn’t say speeding kills. He said muppets soak up fines. The signs are there. The fines are fair.

“Speeding also endangers lives”

Perhaps you interpret this differently to me. I also notice you completely ignored my request for some evidence that supports the change.

Or are you a fan of arbitrary government regulations in all areas of life? Perhaps you’d like to remove the boot from your mouth and try again.

Finagen_erection7:57 am 05 Aug 21

Chewy you asked Sam the question. My comment stands; obey the sign and there’d be no fine.

Anyone bemoaning revenue raising governments and councils have got to question the volunteer speeders who chose to part with their cash.

No boots.

yes I asked Sam the question and you seemed keen to butt in despite Sam clearly raising the safety issues of speeding and endangering lives. Considering that, I thought you might have an answer to the question but clearly not.

I also note that you ignored the specific question I asked you around why you would support arbitrary government regulations, without significant supporting evidence being provided. Just claiming these are voluntary payments is meaningless commentary that completely ignores the underlying issues.

So they’re didn’t bother to tell motorists during to grace period and I didn’t see one of those speed detecting signs with the smileys.

Using your eyes and seeing the speeding limit signs on the road should be warning enough.

It seems the preference is to comply with speed limits (ie, every trip monitor speed signs for change) rather than avoid hitting vulnerable users (it is easier to avoid errant pedestrians if you are not looking for changed speed limits)

They did tell people. They had electronic signage weeks either side of the change and they have 3 months grace.

As I said to someone above we can debate the speed limit all we like but when it comes to notice and fining people what the government has done by giving 3 months grace is more than reasonable.

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