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Centre for Road Safety

Instant detection

Speed cameras detect the speed of vehicles by using detectors embedded into the road surface or radar technology. Red-light speed cameras also detect vehicles travelling over the stop line or entering the intersection after the lights have turned red. If the speed of the vehicle exceeds the legal limit, or a vehicle runs a red light, a digital picture is taken of the offending vehicle.

What does the camera record?

If an offence is detected, a digital image of the vehicle is recorded. The image clearly shows the colour, type, make and numberplate of the vehicle. Digital images also include:

  • Date of the offence
  • Time of the offence
  • Location details of the camera that took the picture
  • Direction of travel of the offending vehicle
  • Speed of the offending vehicle
  • Speed limit on the road where the camera is positioned
  • The lane that the vehicle was travelling within
  • Other security and integrity parameters

How do speed cameras work in multi-lane situations?

Speed and red-light cameras can monitor multiple lanes with the use of detectors embedded into the road surface or radar technology. Vehicles cannot avoid camera detection by straddling lanes.

Can the cameras identify a speeding vehicle in a line of traffic?

A speeding vehicle can be detected and photographed even if it is within a line of vehicles. The angle at which the cameras are set enables pictures to be taken, even if another vehicle is close by.

How do I know that information recorded is secure?

The original recorded images are stored digitally and cannot be overwritten or altered. A security indicator prevents any attempt to tamper with the image at any stage. All images and relevant information (such as time, date and location) is encrypted. The original image forms the basis of the evidence produced in court. By law, the photographs from speed cameras can be tendered as evidence in court, together with appropriate evidentiary certificates signed by an expert.

How do I know that the camera system is accurate and reliable?

Speed and red-light camera systems (including the digital camera recording device and the associated speed-measuring device) chosen for NSW undergo a comprehensive evaluation and testing procedure to ensure accuracy and reliability. Transport experts inspect each camera system and verify its accuracy and proper operation before the commencement of the camera operation, and thereafter at regular intervals. The camera recording device is inspected every 90 days and the speed-measuring device is inspected at least every 12 months in line with current legal requirements. An inspection is also conducted after any maintenance or repair of either of these devices.