Virtually everyone we surveyed said that this area is clearly just a "speed trap". The purpose of electronic speed enforcement is SUPPOSED to be road safety. In most areas of the world, cameras and other devices are used to this end, and in many jurisdictions (most of Europe, Canada, and the USA), laws exist to prevent the police from setting up "speed traps".
When 404 law-abiding citizens are sent infringements with
crippling fines generated from a low-traffic period on a SUNDAY, this to us smacks of money raising, not safety.
Not that long ago, radar guns were used by stationary police on the roadside, sometimes around a curve or over the crest of a hill, in areas where legitimate need to strictly enforce speed limits was obvious and important. Near a school, for example.
And when one was caught speeding, we were waved over and given the chance to both proffer an excuse, as well as view the evidence. While the "excuse" part was not very likely to work, the interchange between the police officer and the violator was a useful and important element of driver education. It affirmed the need to follow the law with the driver, and gave the police an important few minutes with the public. And if the driver felt the infringement was unfair, he would have this moment to argue his case. A system that worked well for decades, and was part of a strategy that saw the road death toll reduced numerically, and dramatically.
The "speed trap" however is threatening to undo all this good police work in Cairns.
Sending motorists an infringement weeks after it has occurred has no way of providing an educational moment to the drivers. It's another bill in the mail to pay. Unless obviously wrong (car owner interstate, or rego misread), that's it.
Most professionals in the road safety business believe that intelligent road system design is one of the key factors in road safety. The Cook Highway from the Airport Road to Kewarra Beach is a design travesty. Over 20 speed changes in less than 16km. This isn't an intelligent road design, it's a patchwork of "fixes" implemented by politicians, not any professionals.
The 85th percentile rule is the core of speed enforcement in most countries, and the criteria for determining if a "speed trap" has been implemented. It's the gold standard for road safety. This standard is based on the science that the large majority of drivers are reasonable and prudent, don't want to have an accident, and desire to reach their destination in the shortest possible of time. A speed at which 85% of the people driving select. This works because unless there are unseen dangers, drivers can generally work out what speed is appropriate.
The 85th Percentile rule is NOT used in Queensland, where speed limits are determined not by a black spot history, or a nearby school, or even by neighbour complaints. They're set by political processes and money-raising needs by the government of the day, an implemented by the brain-dead boys and girls in blue.
The most unfortunate result of the current speed trap campaign is the decline in respect for the Queensland Police Service that is the direct result. As constables hone their skills at deception and cunning (which we generally only expect from the crims), we will in the not too distant future see them donning tree costumes, hiding in trash bins, and perhaps even wearing croc suits! Continually reminding the public that the government has little interest in lowering the road deaths, but plenty of interest in more of our dosh.
Years ago, I got my first radar gun ticket near Freshwater Christian College. As I came around the curve, a young copper waved me over and gave me the bad news - this electronic device had determined I was going too fast. He showed me the radar gun and explained the problems they were having in the area. Almost 20 years later I remember this incident like yesterday, and am reminded of it when I pass this spot even today.
But a high-tech speeding infringement today? Three weeks after the fact the announcement comes in the mail not much different that the Telecom or Ergon bills. A cursory glance (yep, that's my ute) and we pay it like the good little sheep we are. And we can't even remember the circumstances surrounding, and we've learned nothing. We don't even get the benefit of a sign after-the-fact anymore. And that's how they want it.
The new TruCam systems CAN be fitted with a printer to
issue an infringement directly to the speeder, if the police were really interested in using this event to do a little road safety education. Queensland passed on the printers. Easier to bang out 404 video infringements in three hours. And that's how they want it.
Just give us the money and STFU.