3/18/2008Australia: Big Profits from Small Speed Violations
Nine out of ten speed camera tickets in New South Wales, Australia go for violations of 2 to 9 MPH over the limit.
The state of New South Wales, Australia generated A$143 million in profit from ticketing motorists last year. One of the largest sources of this revenue came from tickets issued to motorists accused of driving between 2 and 9 MPH over the limit. Documents obtained by the Sydney Daily Telegraph show that of 620,194 fixed speed camera citations issued in 2007, a total of 542,290 were for violations of 9 MPH or less. These minor violations generated $49,256,687 in revenue, helping the state to more than double the amount of fines collected over 2006.
Some state residents claim that inaccurate cameras are trapping the innocent. A lone speed camera located on St Helena Hill generated 19,381 in fines worth $2,646,916 last year. The number of fines issued exploded from an average of 13 per day in 2006 to 97 per day last year. Over a thousand motorists have insisted to local officials that they were not speeding when the camera issued a citation.
The Roads and Traffic Authority has refused to provide refunds because the agency finds no reason to question the citations.
"The RTA examined a random sample of speed camera offences that were recorded in June and found that in every case the camera was correct," Minister for Health Reba Meagher said in answer to a parliamentary inquiry. "RTA technicians, along with the camera's manufacturers, visited the St Helena Hill site to conduct further tests on the speed camera. These tests also proved the camera was working accurately and there were no faults in the system."