Existing rules state that cameras must not be used covertly under any circumstances or on downhill sections of road using ‘entrapment’ techniques.
But that’s all about to change, with Victoria Police stating that the new guidelines are aimed at “occupational health and safety” rather than revenue-raising.
Camera operators have reported 247 threats to their safety in the last 12 months, with angry motorists deliberately aiming their cars at the stationary camera vehicles as a form of protest reported in 110 cases.
As a result, while the new rules still say cameras cannot be disguised, camera operators will now be able to park out of view of the roadway, hidden behind trees, signs or other fixtures in order to lessen the chances of a collision, and to reduce road rage.
Effective immediately, speed cameras will also be permitted on downhill sections of road, where it is determined that the road safety goals from the camera cannot be achieved at another location.
In a surprise revelation, Victoria Police Superintendent Dean McWhirter told Melbourne radio 3AW he was happy for drivers to flash their lights in order to warn oncoming cars that mobile speed cameras were in the area.
During the 2012/13 financial year, over half a million motorists were caught by mobile speed cameras in Victoria, with fines issued totalling $110 million.
The overall revenue collected from road safety cameras in Victoria over the same period was over $293 million.