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New South Wales' red light cameras to go digital as road deaths rise

The New South Wales Government, in Australia, has been so alarmed at the steep increase in the state’s road deaths toll this year that it will replace its network of red light cameras in an effort to catch more reckless and speeding drivers. The NSW Transport Minister, David Campbell, has announced that ‘wet-film’ cameras, which require manual loading and development and have been in place for more than 20 years, will be upgraded to digital cameras. The 200 new cameras will be introduced over the next four years and will be linked to a central network. Some of the new cameras will be dual-function, serving as both red light and speed cameras.

“The current 183 red light cameras are over 20 years old and it is time that they were replaced,” Campbell says. “The parts are no longer available to service these cameras. This new technology will be placed at intersections with extremely poor crash records. We will be installing these new safety cameras where they are needed most to improve road safety.” The Roads and Traffic Authority, which will be responsible for the new technology, will activate combined red light and speed cameras at four permanent sites, while another five dual-use cameras will be rotated through 25 other locations across NSW. The minister says that with the 2009 road death toll now standing at 415 deaths - an increase of 94 fatalities on the 2008 total - more effective ways of catching reckless drivers are vital.

“The road safety benefit of red-light cameras is a reduction in the number of right angle crashes, which are also known as ‘T-bone crashes’,” he says. “Speeding through a red light is one of the most dangerous things you can do on our roads and the consequences for yourself and innocent motorists could be deadly.” He says that at sites where cameras had been installed, police had recorded falls of up to 70% in dangerous driving. “The aim is to change driver behavior, ensuring motorists slow down and obey red lights at intersections,” Campbell says. The Government will install the first 50 of the new cameras over the next six months at locations with poor crash histories. The first of them will be operational by late December, in time for the holiday season.

 

November 25, 2009

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