Speed cameras

The South Eastern Freeway is Adelaide’s major transport artery.

Thousands of tonnes of goods are transported up and down the road every day on trucks and semi-trailers.

Joining them are thousands of Hills dwellers who also travel this road by car every day to work as well as dozens of buses and other vehicles.

It’s no secret to regular commuters that there is a significant element who drive dangerously.

They speed, tailgate, weave between cars and lanes, chat on their phones and fail to drive to the weather conditions.

Some are blatantly aggressive.

The switching on of the new permanent speed cameras at the Crafers on-ramp and the overpass at Mt Osmond will hopefully act as a deterrent for some of that behavior – at those sections of the freeway at least.

There is some evidence that the threat of speed cameras has, collectively, made SA motorists slow down.

At least with the wide publicity given to the installation of the freeway cameras people are aware of their presence and understand they will be operating every day of the week.

There is no excuse for speeding if you know they are there.

They might also come into their own in winter and during traffic hazards when the electronic signs change the speed limits for safety reasons.

Drivers may be more mindful that if the illuminated electronic signs say 25km/h or 60km/h, that’s exactly the speed required.

But what these cameras don’t do is make allowances for momentary lapses of concentration or offer any leeway for when short bursts of extra speed are necessary for safe overtaking.

That’s where the State Government’s future plans for point to point cameras on the freeway make more sense.

Knowing that your aggregate speed is being measured over several kilometres will ensure consistently slower and safer speeds, which is supposed to be the purpose of the cameras in the first place.

There’s no doubt that the Crafers and Mt Osmond cameras will be a significant revenue raiser for the Government.

Even conservative estimates put fine revenue in the millions of dollars in the coming months.

What these cameras must not do is reduce the impetus for regular police patrols of that section of road.

Capturing a momentary speed in time will not deter the tailgaters, the lane weavers and the aggressive drivers.

But if everyone knows the cameras are there 24/7 there is simply no sense in speeding. It’s pretty simple.