Former RTA NSW Official Calls For More Police, Fewer Speed Cameras Photo:
Trevor Collett | Jun, 10 2014 | 7 Comments

A former manager with the New South Wales Roads And Traffic Authority (now Roads and Maritime Services), Lex Stewart, has called for more visible policing and fewer speed cameras.

Along with a greater police presence, Mr Stewart believes more streamlined speed limits and an overhaul of the current demerit points system could also improve road safety.

The NSW government is currently midway through its inquiry into speed limits and their impact on the demerit points system, and Mr Stewart was invited to speak during two days of public hearings last week.

Other speakers at the public hearings included Len Woodman from City of Sydney Council, Professor Rebecca Ivers from The George Institute For Global Health and Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith from NSW Police.

The inquiry, administered by NSW Stay Safe, accepted submissions between October last year and February this year.

Speaking with Fairfax, Mr Stewart said a police officer once related to him that a speeding fine issued by a camera was no use if it arrived in a driver’s letterbox three months after the driver had died from their actions.

Mr Stewart's submission also outlined an overhaul to the demerit points system, which includes a change to 100 points for fully-licenced drivers instead of the current 12, 13 or 14 points in NSW.

"The current demerit points system is too clumsy, clunky and lumpy," Mr Stewart said.

"It's too easy to lose your licence for minor offences and spending on roving police is too low because the money is being spent on toys; speed cameras, camera gantries and other technology. What we need is more roving police.”

Under the revised system, a driver would lose one point when issued with a caution by police, with no financial penalty attached.

Points for speeding would be attached to ‘kinetic energy’, with a five-point deduction for offences between 0-10km/h over the limit, rising to 50 points for drivers caught travelling between 40 and 50 km/h above the limit.

Mr Stewart said he believed a gradual approach to deducting demerit points gave the driver a better chance of recognising and modifying their behaviour.

Offences detected by a camera would carry half the points-penalty of those issued by a police officer under Mr Stewart’s scheme, as a police officer is better able to judge the severity of the offence, in context.

MORE: Speed camera news, road safey news

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