2011/18: are speed cameras effective?

Introduction to the media issue

Video clip at right:
A Channel 10 news report from January 31, 2011, in which the recently elected Victorian Minister for Police, Peter Ryan, admits his own speeding and then announces an inquiry into the operation of speed cameras in the state. If you cannot see this clip, it will be because video is blocked by your network. To view the clip, access from home or from a public library, or from another network which allows viewing of video clips.

What they said...
'I have no compunction in calling speeding fines a form of taxation because any examination of how they work leads to that conclusion'
Paul Murray, former editor of the West Australian

'There is a causal link between speed and severity of a crash'
Victorian Auditor General's report, 2011

The issue at a glance
On October 3, 2011, it was announced that an extra 32 speed and red-light cameras would be progressively switched on across Melbourne from the following day.
The Victorian Police Minister, Peter Ryan, noted that the Auditor-General's report released on August 31, 2011, had found Victoria's camera program reduces road trauma. Mr Ryan claimed these findings had convinced the government of the effectiveness of speed cameras.
The decision has created controversy as speed cameras are unpopular in Victoria and some members of the current government, when in Opposition, had suggested that these cameras were used primarily for revenue-raising purposes.
Road traffic authorities generally support the use of speed cameras while a range of motorist lobby groups oppose them. The cameras have received a very negative treatment from a number of media outlets.
A debate similar to that in Victoria has occurred in New South Wales, where in July, 2011, the New South Wales Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, ordered that 38 speed cameras across the state be switched off immediately after an audit found that they were not improving road safety.
Despite this, the New South Wales Auditor General stated that generally, 'speed cameras change driver behaviour and improve road safety'.