The West

Speeding fines income up $33m
Speeding fines income up $33m

Errant drivers were fined an extra $33.7 million last year after speeding offences increased almost 60 per cent on the previous year.

Police last year handed out 5600 more speeding tickets on average each week - issuing 789,134 infringements, compared with 496,468 in 2010.

Red-light offences dropped from 17,331 to 16,336 in the same period.

The total amount raised from red-light and speeding offences last year was $105.28 million, compared with $71.58 million in 2010.

The high number of motorists caught exceeding the speed limit by less than 10km/h is a concern to Road Safety Council chairman D'Arcy Holman, who claimed they caused the same carnage on WA roads as "high-level" speeders.

"Low-level speeding is one of the deadliest epidemics on our roads," he said.

"Driving just 5km/h over the limit doubles your crash risk."

Last year, 363,945 infringements were issued to WA motorists for speeding by 9km/h or less, which carries a $75 fine. In comparison, 54,533 fines were handed out for speeding by 20km/h or more.

The Office of Road Safety is reviewing penalties and will consider whether those motorists who exceed the limit by up to 9km/h should also receive a demerit point.

Despite the almost 60 per cent jump in speeding infringements issued last year Professor Holman claimed it was more likely to be a result of improved police enforcement and did not mean more motorists were speeding. "Compliance with speed limits in WA has been gradually improving over time," he said

Revenue from speed and red-light camera fines contributes to the Road Trauma Trust Fund - and the Government has committed to allocating 100 per cent of those fines to the fund from July - while the fines from on-the-spot offences are put into Treasury coffers.

The Road Safety Council's recommendations for RTTF spending include improving urban intersections, upgrading regional roadsides with sealed shoulders and audible edge lining and targeting drink and drug drivers.

Shadow police minister Michelle Roberts said last year's result was a "massive increase" in fines and most were at the lower end.

"I think it's the wrong priority," she said. "Complaints I get from the community are largely about hoon offences and the fact they cannot get timely police attention for hooning offences."

Speeding by 10km/h to 19km/h carries a $150 fine and two demerit points.

The West Australian

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