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Think first then dial

Low level speeding detections

As the Commissioner of the South Australia Police (SAPOL) I would like to take this opportunity to personally advise the community as to how SAPOL undertakes speed detection duties.

There has been information recently in the media that suggests some road users are being fined for driving as low as one kilometre over the speed limit. Can I state emphatically – that this is certainly not the case.

I want to reassure you that members of SAPOL do not issue fines to road users who have exceeded the speed limit by a mere few kilometres an hour.

A detailed analysis of Expiation Notice Branch data for the 2016-2017 financial year; published to the Data SA website, reveals that in fact no expiation notices were issued to road users for offences of exceeding the speed limit by a mere few kilometres an hour. There was reference in the media that some road users had been being issued an expiation notice for exceeding the speed limit by one kilometre an hour. This is factually incorrect.

Our speed detection equipment is precise and reliable. We have explicit safeguards in place that prevent the issuing of notices for the trifling and low-level speeding offences.

Five expiation notices were issued to drivers where it may be perceived they were infringed for travelling at only one kilometre over the speed limit:

  • Two of these matters related to provisional licence holders who were detected driving at 111km/h. A provisional licence holder must not exceed 100km/h, irrespective of the designated speed limit on a road in any part of the state. In actuality, these two offences related to drivers exceeding their provisional speed limit by 11km/h. As can be seen from an initial scan of the data results this could be construed as being one kilometre over the area speed limit when in fact it is 11 kilometres over the lawful requirements of the provisional licence holder.
  • A further two expiation notices were issued to drivers of heavy vehicles exceeding 12 tonnes, who are similarly bound by a maximum limit of 100km/h on any length of road, and exceeded their limit by 11km/h.
  • The final offence, for 51km/h in a 50km/h zone, was found to be a clerical error, wherein the speed was incorrectly transcribed as 51km/h and not 57km/h. The correct speed was actually written on the expiation notice issued to the offending driver.

Of note, the lowest speeding violation recorded during the 2016-2017 period was issued to a driver travelling four kilometres over the speed limit on a rural road. This was the only recorded offence at this speed.

Our organisational policies relating to speed analysis have evolved over many years to ensure that they can be fairly and consistently applied across all road users, irrespective of whether they are detected by a fixed or mobile camera.

To account for measurement variations from one instrument to another, and to allow reasonable leeway for drivers who slightly exceed the speed limit, we apply a degree of leniency consistent with the manufacturer’s equipment specifications.

Our speed detection equipment is routinely assessed, tested and recalibrated to ensure their accuracy.

I would like to emphasise that SAPOL’s speed detection deployments serve as an excellent deterrent to road users who may consider exceeding the various speed limits across our entire state road network. This in turn, has a direct impact on reducing road speed-related lives lost and serious injury crashes.

Grant Stevens APM
South Australia Police