Report backs increase in night police patrols

Analysis of heavy vehicle speeding in NSW recommends greater police presence on regional highways at night to catch lead-foot drivers

By Brad Gardner | November 6, 2012

A report that analysed heavy vehicle speeding data in New South Wales has recommended a greater police presence on regional highways to catch lead-foot drivers.

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) looked at data from the now defunct ‘three strikes’ scheme compiled between 2003 and 2011 and found the worst speeding offenders were interstate trucks travelling at night on regional highways.

The study found that 78 percent of strikes for vehicles with four or more strikes occurred at night, with 90 percent of those with four or more strikes detected speeding on a highway. It says vehicles that received more than four strikes were more likely to have been registered outside NSW.

"The findings suggest that enforcement and regulatory agencies in New South Wales may have further success in targeting repeat speeding offenders if they work collaboratively to enhance detection measures along the state’s regional highways at night time," the report says.

It suggests a combination of greater police presence and speed cameras and for authorities to involve industry bodies to develop strategies targeting recidivist operators and drivers.

"This report will help law enforcement tackle repeat heavy vehicle speeders, by understanding where and when they are likely to speed," report author Dr Katie Willis says.

Aimed at curbing heavy vehicle speeding in NSW, the ‘three strikes’ scheme recorded a strike against the registration of a truck if it was caught travelling more than 15km/h over the speed limit.

Each strike remained active for three years from the date it was issued, and a truck was deregistered for 28 days if it recorded three strikes.

The study found that of the 12,107 trucks detected speeding between 2003 and 2011, 86 percent (10,363) received one strike only while 422 (3 percent) received three or more strikes. Only 128 trucks received four or more strikes.

Heavy vehicles that received a strike under the scheme were travelling an average of 24km/h over the speed limit.

"The majority of four plus strike vehicles (93%) were detected speeding in the inner and outer regional parts of New South Wales…where there are likely to be a greater number of highways," the report says.

"Conversely, a large proportion of vehicles that had received one strike only (30%) were caught speeding in NSW metropolitan areas (although a further 49% were also detected speeding in inner regional locations)."

The AIC says repeat offenders were limited to the Hume, Pacific, New England and Newell highways, while non-recidivist vehicles were caught more often during daylight hours in lower speed zones.

It says the prevalence of interstate trucks with multiple strikes does not indicate that vehicles registered outside NSW are more problematic than those with NSW plates.

"Rather, the pattern is likely to be evident because New South Wales acts as an important transit state between other jurisdictions (such as between Victoria and Queensland)…," the report says.

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