Public perceptions of Victorian speed enforcement initiatives

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #224 [2004]

Authors: G. Smith & T. Senserrick

Full report in .pdf format [200KB]

Abstract:

In 1999, new speed enforcement initiatives were planned for introduction in Victoria in following years. In order to assess public response to these initiatives, a baseline telephone survey, using random digit dialling and population sampling methods, was conducted in Melbourne during October 1999 (N=1,000), in order to record related attitudes and behaviours under the speed camera program in operation at that time. Since then several new speed camera technologies have been introduced (including flashless, and fixed-site cameras), the number of camera hours per month has also been increased, and both the speed camera tolerance and the residential speed limit have been lowered. A revised survey to address these changes was conducted in Melbourne in October 2002, with quotas specified to match the demographics (age, gender, Police district) of the 1999 sample (N=1,000). The aim was both to ascertain any changes in self-reported attitudes and behaviours in the period following the introduction of the new initiatives and assess specific perceptions of these new initiatives with additional items. Respondents reported greater awareness of speed enforcement in general and of speed cameras in particular at 2002. Accompanying this was an attendant improvement in knowledge of the logistics and operation of speed cameras (e.g. use of different vehicles). Agreement that speed enforcement helps lower the road toll decreased somewhat between 1999 and 2002, indicating increased support for the 'revenue raising' argument increasingly pushed by the media. Respondents also reported an increase in the chance of being caught exceeding the speed limit and, most importantly, that they reduced speeding behaviour accordingly. Overall the innovative efforts of Victoria Police and the changes in speed camera technology are appearing to be effective in changing people's attitudes towards speeding and self-reported speeding behaviour. These efforts serve to increase road safety in Victoria, and to provide a model for implementation of similar practice in other States and Territories.

Sponsoring organisation - Baseline Research Program - Department of Justice, Transport Accident Commission, VicRoads