Up to speed

driving skills speed

After being removed last year, fixed and portable warning signs for mobile speed cameras in NSW are coming back. The backflip comes after a public backlash and a whopping increase in fines. Even so, we know 98% of motorists don’t speed past mobile speed cameras. Does that mean 98% of Australians don’t speed at all?

Is it true we don’t speed?

Unfortunately not. In NSW, 41.5% of all road deaths in the year to July 2021 involved speeding, up from the 3-year average of 41.1%. Fines collected in that 12 months were $38 million from mobile speed cameras and $279 million from all cameras and police.

Fines from mobile speed cameras exploded when portable warning signs and reflective checker markings on cars were removed. Meanwhile new technology was able to catch cars travelling in both directions. In the first six months of 2021, mobile speed cameras alone raised a huge $28 million in fines. This was ten times more than $2.9 million in the same period in 2020.

Meanwhile, many more motorists received speeding tickets for going less than 10 kph over the limit. Mobile speed cameras raised $15.9 million from these people in the first five months of 2021, compared to $872,000 in the corresponding period of 2020.

From mid-August 2021 there will be 1,000 permanent roadside warning signs in places where mobile speed cameras are used. There will also be 350 portable roadside warning signs. Even so, we know 98% of motorists don’t speed past mobile speed cameras.

Nearly half of us speed

In a Ford survey of 1,000 drivers this year, nearly half (45.5%) of Australian drivers admit they drive over the speed limit.

  • The biggest speeders are in the ACT and in WA
  • ACT drivers say it’s acceptable to drive 5 kph over the limit
  • Half of WA drivers say they drive over the speed limit.

Interestingly, 56% of NSW respondents thought drivers had become “more erratic” on the roads since Covid. Had they forgotten how to drive during lockdown? Some 15.6% admitted they did not know NSW road rules in the city and 16.8% did not know country road rules.

More than three quarters of Tasmanians claim they always follow the road rules.

A senior UK police officer recently made a link between drivers who speed and people who carry knives. He claimed drivers who speed are “weaponising” their vehicles and this was no different to using a knife in a fight. In the UK, men are twice as likely as women to have penalty points from speeding offences.

Speeding will cost you

The fines for speeding in NSW are heavy. Speeding offences apply to each class of vehicle, inside and outside school zones, and vary according to your licence status. Demerit points apply to any type of speeding offence.

The table below is for Class A vehicles, as at July 2020:

Speed Fine Demerits
10 kph or under $123 1 (4 for Ls or Ps)
Over 10 kph $285 3 (4 for Ls or Ps)
Over 20 kph $489 4
Over 30 kph $935 5
Over 45 kph $2,520 6

Source: RMS

Having even one demerit point can affect the price of your greenslip. Any licence suspension because of demerits will also affect the price of your greenslip. See Speeding hurts people and your pocket

Corrina Baird

Writer and expert

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered first hand what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years of writing and research in financial services, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

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