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Lowered speed thresholds catching out Sydney drivers

Sydney motorists have described their “outrage” at getting caught going just a few kilometres over the speed limit after thresholds around the city were “secretly” lowered.

Sydney motorists are getting fined going just a few kilometres over the speed limit, after speed thresholds around the locked down city were lowered under the radar nine months ago.

Speaking to 2GB’s Ben Fordham this morning, drive.com.au national motoring editor Joshua Dowling said the fact drivers were getting caught out “is an outrage”, saying he believed the NSW government “secretly” reduced the tolerance on speed cameras to catch drivers travelling only a little bit over the limit.

“This is an outrage, at the same time the portable signs around speed camera locations were taken away, they also lowered the threshold that people are tripped up,” Dowling said.

“It means they’re catching way, way more people than before … To pick people off for a few kilometres over the limit is not about road safety, it’s clearly about getting the money in the bank.”

Since the beginning of the year, $22 million in fines for low range speeding have been handed out – up 1500 per cent from the same period last year.

One listener named Justin told Fordham that within the past month he’d been fined four times for travelling between three and six km/h over the limit in a 50km/h zone.

“I’ve done the wrong thing, I don’t deny that, but I started to think that can’t be a coincidence … something must have changed,” he said, having driven in Sydney’s north shore for about 20 years.

He added that it wasn’t a “good judgment call” from the state government to hand out such fines in the midst of Sydney’s Covid-19 outbreak and ongoing lockdown.

“After this pandemic ends, there’s going to be fines everywhere,” he said.

Bernard Carlon, head of Transport for NSW’s Centre for Road Safety, told news.com.au in a statement that the NSW government doesn’t comment on tolerance levels.

“However, NSW speed camera tolerance levels are generally in line with other states,” he said.

“Drivers have a legal responsibility to stay under the speed limit.”

The decision to remove warning signs for mobile speed cameras in NSW saw drivers cough up $4 million in low-range offences during May alone. At the time, Opposition Leader Chris Minns slammed the state government for its “blatant cash grab”.

“The NSW government has worked out a way to slug families with hundreds of dollars for low-range speeding offences by hiding the cameras,” Mr Minns said.

The government ultimately backflipped on the move earlier this month, with Transport Minister Andrew Constance announcing that fixed warning signs would be reinstated across the state.

“We are already seeing a change in driver behaviour, with 3.5 drivers caught by the cameras per hour of enforcement in June, compared with five drivers per hour in February, and we want that downward trend to continue with these new signs,” Mr Constance said.

“Speeding is the biggest killer on our roads, with almost 50 per cent of fatalities last year caused by someone travelling at an inappropriate speed.”

Various transport bodies also applauded the move, with NatRoad chief executive Warren Clark saying that “appropriate warnings are an essential part of road traffic enforcement, as is upgrading of road infrastructure”.

Read related topics:Sydney

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