Speed and red light cameras
Speeding and running red lights are major causes of road crashes. Speeding reduces your reaction time, making it difficult for you to stop if a vehicle, pedestrian, or hazard moves into your path. Driving through a red light increases your chances of crashing into a pedestrian or vehicle that has started moving through the intersection from a different direction.
We set up speed and red light cameras throughout Queensland to encourage road users to drive safely within the speed limit. They are set up where:
- crashes often take place
- motorists commonly drive above the speed limit or run a red light
- road workers, pedestrians, or other road users are at risk.
Speed and red light camera types
There are different types of speed and red light cameras used in Queensland to deter drivers from driving over the speed limit and disobeying traffic signals.
The Queensland Camera Detected Offence program includes the following types of speed and red light cameras:
- mobile speed cameras
- fixed speed cameras
- red light cameras
- combined red light and speed cameras
- point-to-point speed camera systems.
Some cameras are permanent and operate 24 hours, 7 days. Police officers operate others at certain times. We use both marked and unmarked camera locations—to enforce the idea that if you speed or run a red light, you could be caught anywhere, anytime.
Speed and red light cameras have a proven record in reducing the road toll.
Mobile speed cameras
There are around 3700 mobile speed camera sites throughout Queensland. We select sites using strict criteria, with crash history being the primary reason. Other reasons to establish a mobile speed camera site include known high-risk speeding or roadwork sites where the workplace health and safety of workers is at risk.
These sites are approved by a Speed Management Committee, made up of representatives from Queensland Police Service, Department of Transport and Main Roads, RACQ and local governments.
We use 2 types of mobile speed cameras in Queensland at approved sites.
- Mobile speed cameras—vehicles are fitted with speed camera equipment, which can park on the side of the road to monitor the speed of passing traffic.
- Portable speed cameras—used as hand held devices or set up on a tripod on the side of the road by police officers.
Police officers operating mobile speed cameras from vehicles and police officers with hand held speed cameras, can position themselves at these sites at any time of day or night, on any day of the year.
Police officers can operate mobile speed cameras from marked and unmarked vehicles either in uniform or in plain clothes.
You can expect to see speed enforcement anywhere anytime on Queensland roads.
Fixed speed cameras
Fixed speed cameras are cameras that we permanently install on roads or at intersections throughout Queensland. Fixed speed cameras are used to make sure road users follow the signed speed limit at specific high crash black spots or on known high-risk roads.
We select fixed speed camera locations by looking at sections of road with a history of crashes that result from speeding, that are also difficult or unsafe to monitor by using other enforcement methods.
Locations are based on:
- crash history
- crash potential
- a history of 5 or more speed-related crashes within the past 5 years.
Some fixed speed camera locations may not have crash history but may still have significant risk factors. Sites based on the potential for crashes, instead of crash history, aim to minimise crash risk for new and existing roads, for example in tunnels.
You can read more about crash history data used to select fixed camera locations.
Red light cameras
Red light cameras are cameras located at intersections with traffic lights and take photos of vehicles that run red lights. They are attached to a pole or something similar, a few meters back from the solid white line, which marks the start of the intersection.
Red light cameras operate 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Combined red light and speed cameras
Combined red light and speed cameras are located at intersections and detect both red light running and speeding. The speed detection part of the camera detects speeding on the red, yellow and green lights. The camera can detect running of red lights and speeding at the same time and you can be fined for both offences.
Combined red light/speed cameras operate automatically 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We select combined red light/speed camera locations by looking at crashes (or the potential for crashes) that have occurred at intersections with traffic lights.
Point-to-point speed cameras
Point-to-point speed cameras are systems made up of 2 cameras along a length of road. The cameras work out how long it takes you to get between the 2 points and calculate your average speed—to work out if you have been speeding along the length of the road using the following formula:
Speed = distance ÷ time
The vehicle has been speeding if its average speed is more than the speed limit. Point-to-point camera systems, like other fixed speed cameras monitor traffic 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We select point-to-point speed camera locations by analysing lengths of road with a history of crashes (or the potential for crashes) that result from speeding. Road lengths generally include high volume roads, such as freeways or highways.
How speed cameras work
Mobile speed cameras work by emitting a radar beam across the road. Speeding vehicles passing through the beam are photographed automatically. Speed cameras can measure the speed of vehicles travelling in either direction.
Fixed speed cameras detect speeding using radar and in-road sensor technology to measure the travelling speed of vehicles. When a speeding vehicle passes, an image of the vehicle is captured along with other information such as the location, time and alleged speed.
How red light cameras work
If you drive through a red light, the camera will take at least 2 photos of you—1 as soon as it realises that you are going to continue driving despite the red light, and another 1 or 2 seconds later (to see where you are in the intersection).
It will not take any photos if the light is green or amber—only if the light is red when the front of your vehicle crosses the solid white line to enter the intersection. The red light camera will send the photos and details of the time, date, amount of time the light was red, and your lane position to the Traffic Camera Office.
If it is a combined speed and red light camera, it may also send details of the area speed limit and the speed you were travelling. Police officers at the Traffic Camera Office will issue an infringement notice for the offence.
See enforcement of laws to find out more about how police use these systems to enforce speeding rules.
We use cameras to improve road safety by making drivers think twice about breaking road rules. In order for our camera systems to be effective, we need them to be accurate. We test mobile cameras before each use.
Accuracy and maintenance
We check speed and red light cameras yearly for accuracy and make sure they comply with manufacturers’ guidelines and Australian standards. We also check, test and adjust all cameras at least once a year to make sure they are correct for continued use.
We also field-test mobile devices before and after each use according to Queensland Police Service policy. Police officers using mobile speed cameras must do test shots before beginning to use a mobile speed camera on traffic and after using a mobile speed camera.
Speed and red light camera revenue
The revenue we collect from speed and red light camera fines is much less than the cost of road trauma caused by drivers speeding and running red lights.
We use this revenue, after administrative costs, for road safety purposes specifically:
- road safety education and awareness programs
- road accident injury rehabilitation programs
- road funding to improve the safety of the sections of state-controlled roads where crashes happen most frequently.
This is a requirement under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (PDF, 1.7MB).
Camera revenue received during 2013-14 was spent on the following:
|Road accident injury rehabilitation projects–blood and blood products||$4.5 million|
|Improvements to the safety of state-controlled roads||$65.9 million|
|Road safety education and awareness||$8.1 million|
|Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital – Prevent Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) Program||$327,000|
|RACQ DocuDrama Program||$160,000|