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Speed camera crusader hitting Hunter streets

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Tobias Hudson is passionate about speed cameras.

The Wallsend resident has been trying to save others from a fine he describes as “ridiculous” for the past three months.

He is the Hunter representative of a group that refer to themselves as The Mobile Speed Cameras Crusade Army.

By setting up bright orange signs emblazoned with ‘Warning, mobile speed camera ahead’, Tobias hopes to warn drivers of upcoming speed camera cars.

Recently seen with his signs in Merewether, Kotara, Lambton, Argenton and Hamilton, on Wednesday Tobias set up his two signs at three different locations, from early in the morning, until late in the afternoon.

“I try to stay until the camera car leaves,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

Preferring to avoid the title of vigilante, Tobias says he agrees breaking the law deserves to bring punishment, what frustrates him is the numbers.

“If the police pull you over for speeding it’s for driving more than five or eight kms over the limit, they’ll give you a couple of kms over, that’s fair enough, but these cars they’ll get you for being just for one or two kilometres over and that’s just ridiculous.”

Warning motorists of an impending speed test is also a legal requirement he feels is not always adhered to.

“Sometimes they don’t even have their signs up, they are hidden by other larger vehicles, or they hide under trees so the camera catches people in both directions without the sun interference,” Tobias said.

Drivers who pass Tobias on suburban streets in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie will often show their appreciation by honking their car horns and offering a cheer and a wave to the colourful character.

“Yeah, a lot of them say things like ‘good on ya mate’ and that’s nice,” he laughs.

The drivers of the speed camera cars however, haven’t been quite so accommodating he admits.

“I’ve had the (camera car) drivers get quite aggressive with me, but I’ve recorded it as they’ve approached me, and they’re not allowed to get out of their cars, so they’ve just headed off,” he said.

“The cameras don’t save lives, that’s the message, they’re just revenue raisers.”

The signs that accompany Tobias on his “missions” are sponsored by a traffic control company in Sydney – Speed Cameras Love Me.

The movement comes off the back of the New South Wales Government’s backflip on its controversial decision to make mobile speed camera cars less visible after revenue from fines more than doubled over two years.

Since 2020 a record number of drivers lost their licence and, Tobias adds, potentially their livelihoods, with all taking a hit to the back pocket, for what is often low-range speeding.

In the Hunter many politicians joined the criticism.

The NSW Government removed portable warning signs and reflective markings on mobile speed camera cars during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as reducing the threshold for speeding fines to be issued.

Data from Revenue NSW shows speed camera revenue was up more than $3.4 million in January 2021, nine times higher than the $382,000 that was collected in January 2020.

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