ALMOST 11,000 speeding offences have been snapped by a single speed camera in the Hunter this financial year as drivers are increasingly nabbed by fixed cameras across the region.
Data from Revenue NSW shows stationary speed cameras in the Hunter have stung more than $5 million from drivers so far this financial year - $650,000 more than in the entire previous financial year.
Almost a third of the revenue has come from a single location - the red light speed camera stationed on Griffiths Road at Lambton.
A whopping 10,715 penalty notices were picked up as a result of the camera, which is on the intersection of Turton Road, between July and February. This has equated to $1.64 million in fines.
Almost 1800 offences were recorded in October alone.
The total is up from the previous financial year, which resulted in 7,296 offences and $1.3 million in revenue, and about on par with the 2018-19 financial year, where 9,873 speeding drivers were fined $1.75 million.
A further 266 red light infringements were recorded at the site this financial year, which have led to $127,136 in government revenue.
A Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson said the change was about increasing safety.
"In the five years between July 2011 and June 2016 there were 382 crashes, including 272 injury crashes along this 8.5 kilometre section road," the spokesperson said.
But Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery was critical of the speed limit drop at the time, and maintains that the reduction exercise "has been a complete failure".
"The number of fines being issued has gone through the roof and the government are just happy to sit back and let it happen," she said.
"The excuse used was the high number of low speed crashes.
"So far from the evidence I have seen, nothing has changed. The number of crashes hasn't changed."
"It seems to me that they are just happy to sit back and let the cash pile up instead of looking at being proactive and working to reduce the numbers of speeding drivers."
"Getting a fine in the mail three weeks after your speeding offence does nothing to save lives.
"If it's about saving lives by changing behaviours, then high visibility policing and warning signs show how effective they are."
Elsewhere in the Hunter, two speed cameras in school zones recorded the next highest number of speeding offences.
The camera on the Pacific Highway at Gateshead has notched up more than 3,700 infringements and collected $823,407 this financial year, while the cameras on each side of the New England Highway at Lochinvar recorded a further 2,843 infringements and $627,683.
The red light camera at Charlestown Road, Kotara, which was only added in December 2019, nabbed the fourth highest number of penalty notices with 2,716 and $463,318 in revenue.
In fifth was Thomas Street, Wallsend, which was also subject to the same reduced speed limit as Griffiths Road. The camera had 1,939 speeding offences recorded and raised $299,311 in revenue in the stated period.
Transport for NSW says locations for cameras are based on criteria set in the NSW Speed Camera Strategy, which predominately looks at crash history and includes information from NSW Police as well as nominations from the community.
Transport for NSW Safety, Environment and Regulation deputy secretary Tara McCarthy said all fines from speed cameras were reinvested through the Community Road Safety Fund, with a focus on safety upgrades such as rumble strips and safety barriers.
"The evidence is clear that people will change their speeding behaviour in response to receiving penalties including demerit points," Ms McCarthy said.
"The power to avoid penalties for speeding is totally in the control of the driver."
Newcastle-Hunter Traffic Inspector Inspector Mick Buko had a similar sentiment when asked about drivers being caught speeding.
"People have just got to slow down," Inspector Buko said. "Everyone has got to take personal accountability for what they do when they get in the car.
"You've got to be patient, plan your trip.
"I say the same messages time in time out. It's up to the individual and if they don't do the right thing, they will be caught."
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