Alarming surge in regional speeding fines prompts RAA safety plea

29 September, 2021

The number of motorists caught speeding by police officers on regional roads has soared an alarming 37 per cent in the past three financial years, SAPOL figures obtained by RAA show.

The revelation comes on the eve of school holidays and the looming October long weekend, when motorists make an exodus to vacation destinations across the state.

In 2018/19 police issued 15,560 roadside speeding fines in regional SA. That number spiked to 18,352 in 2019/20 and 21,383 last financial year. These motorists were caught on country roads by officers using speed guns or other methods.

The number motorists who instantly lost their licence for speeding 45km/h or more above the limit on regional roads also surged 20 per cent in the same period.

The total cost to speeding motorists caught on regional roads also soared, from $7.9m in 2018/19, to $10.1m in 2019/20 and $12.6m last financial year.

The biggest increases occurred in the Barossa Valley (up 133%) and Mid North and Yorke Peninsula (up 45%), which are among the state’s most popular tourist destinations.

RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said motorists ran a greater risk than a fine for exceeding the speed limit.

“Speeding – especially on roads with limits of 90km/h to 110km/h – can have potentially catastrophic consequences for you, your loved ones and other roads users,’’ he said.

“Motorists must also adjust their speed accordingly when speed limits change as the they approach towns or roadworks.’’

Police figures also show speeding motorists are increasingly likely to be fined than cautioned by officers. Last year 70 per cent of offenders were fined, compared to 66 per cent in 2019/20 and 60 per cent in 2018/19.

Other dangerous driver behaviour on the increase was overtaking when it was unsafe to do so. The number of drivers pulled over for this offence increased from 230 in 2018/19, to 243 in 2019/20 and 277 last financial year.

Mr Mountain urged drivers to be patient and concentrate on arriving safely at their destination.

“Drivers should make use of overtaking lanes, and RAA is calling for more of these lanes to be built to in an effort to reduce road trauma,’’ he said. 

“Motorists must remember roads in regional SA – especially those areas popular with holidaymakers – will be busier than normal during the school break and long weekend, so we urge them to exercise caution and remain vigilant.

“If you’re planning on getting away, make sure you drive to the conditions, plan regular rest breaks and put your safety and that of other road users at the top of your driving agenda.’’

Police figures earlier this week revealed more that than 70 per cent of the state’s total road fatalities in 2021 had occurred in regional SA.

SAPOL figures also show the number of motorists caught speeding on regional roads by mobile speed cameras were relatively unchanged in the past three financial years, falling just 2 per cent to 26,047 last financial year compared to 26,555 in 2018/19.