Why this speed camera at the end of my street is so annoying - and it's not what you think

There's speed bumps, parked boats and cars and a quiet cemetery on my street, it's a mix of ingredients that's not that conducive to hooning, writes Adam Lucius.

Speed camera (left) and Adam's street (right).
A speed camera like this one (left) often visits the end of Adam's quiet residential street (right), perplexing the locals. Source: Transport NSW/Supplied

There's one thing that really annoys me on the road and unfortunately it's something I encounter whenever I'm leaving my street. My pet peeve is seemingly-unnecessary mobile speed cameras and the one near my place is infuriating locals because it's not there for the right reasons.

Head down to the bottom of my street, turn left, and you will find a graveyard dating back to the 1800s.

The road running past it is full of parked cars, trailers, work trucks and boats.

It also features a speed hump and a narrow passage that often lends itself to only one car passing at a time, further hindering any real chance of reaching the 50km/h speed limit.

The graveyard occupants move quicker than the traffic at times.

Yet, this is where Transport NSW has decided to set up a mobile speed camera on a semi-regular basis over the past few months. Why? No one really knows.

Sure, there is a school nearby.

But the trap is set away from the school and is most often there at weekends.

It's not a known accident hot spot, apart from the occasional side-swiped mirror.

The sudden appearance of a speed camera appears to be a cynical grab for our wallets rather than a genuine safety measure.

Do these crackdowns go too far at times?

You'd clearly have to be an idiot to argue against road safety regulations.

Any measure that help brings Australia's alarming road toll down gets a big tick.

Not everything authorities put in place are revenue raisers, despite what the cynics might say.

If big fines and the loss of demerit points help bring about a change in driver attitude, more power to them.

Yahoo News Australia reported this week that 70,000 South Australians had been caught using their mobile phones while behind the wheel during a two-month trial period.

The quiet residential street lined with parked boats (left) has speed humps (right).
It seems like an unnecessary spot to deploy a camera seeing as cars often struggle to reach the speed limit, Adam says. Source: Supplied

If fines had been in place, more than $45m would have been generated.

Police Superintendent Darren Fielke said the cameras are "here to make people think about what they're doing while they're driving".

And that's got to be a good thing, right?

Yes, most definitely, says NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury.

But it comes with a caveat.

The cameras must serve a purpose, not just pop up randomly without any apparent benefit or aim.

In the other words, not be out and out revenue raisers.

"Our number one priority has always been - and will always be - to focus our resources first and foremost with police and the work the highway patrols do on the road network," Khoury told Yahoo News Australia.

"They have to be the tip of the spear. They're the most effective tool to address all behaviours.

"They're most likely to have the most meaningful effect in terms of changing behaviours.

"We're supportive of all measures government has used to address things like people using their mobile phones illegally, speeding and people not wearing seat belts.

However, Khoury said that the NRMA had been critical in the past where road safety outcomes would not be delivered despite many stiff penalties issued to drivers.

"We have been vocal in the past where we thought the wrong policy was introduced, which brought about the wrong outcomes for the community.

"They have to absolutely make sure these cameras go into black spot locations where they can show it's a dangerous road and there have been crashes resulting in injuries or deaths.

"These cameras must go into areas where we absolutely have to address road safety issues."

I think that really sums it up. What's the point of putting cameras in places they're not needed? Surely, it's best to allocate these resources to where they are really needed and where they can make a real difference.

After all, we all want the same thing — safer roads for all Aussies to drive on.

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