DVN Data Story 03 – Do Speeding Tickets Work The Same For Everyone

Speeding was the major contributing factor in 66% of accidents in NSW for 2015 and 42% involving at least one fatality with the rest seriously injured (Transport for New South Wales 2016). This equated to 384 people being killed on NSW roads last year (Transport for New South Wales 2017).

Financial Impact of Speeding

The police are tasked with reducing this road toll through implementing speed reduction programs focused on speeding cameras and patrol cars. The hope is that by imposing penalties driver behaviour will change. However, are the methods used being effective in driving this change?

Last fiscal year $75 million dollars was raised in speeding fines and a further $175 million was raised from speed cameras. That is whopping $250 million dollars in a single year!


Looking at which regions that are being fined the most per head of population shows that the strategies currently employed are not working. The open data portal (Department of Finance, Services and Innovation 2017) give two years’ worth of fines that were issued by NSW Police and speeding cameras by the suburb of the driver’s residence (Department of Finance, Services and Innovation 2017). Blending this with the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) and population estimates from the 2011 census (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011) show that financial penalties don’t seem to be working on the people who can afford it the least.

Speeding Fines as % of Population – Police and Camera Combined – FY 2013 & 2014

Looking at the data, the four out of the five areas that are the poorest in Sydney get the most speeding tickets with Macarthur Region averaging 40 tickets issued per 100 people. Compared to the Inner West which gets less than 13 tickets per 100.

Fine Comparison – Best & Worse

We need to urgently look for different strategies to reduce speeding and consequently the road toll in the poorer areas of Sydney because the current practices are not working.


Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011, ‘SEIFA by State Suburb Code’, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), viewed 15 May 2017, <http://stat.data.abs.gov.au/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=SEIFA_SSC>.

Department of Finance, Services and Innovation 2017, ‘Data on the speeding fines issued by the speeding cameras and NSW Police’, NSW Open Data, viewed 15 May 2017, <https://data.nsw.gov.au/data/dataset/data-on-the-speeding-fines-issued-by-the-speeding-cameras-and-nsw-police>.

Transport for New South Wales 2016, Crash and casualty statistics – NSW Centre for Road Safety, viewed 15 May 2017, <http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/statistics/interactivecrashstats/nsw.html>.

Transport for New South Wales 2017, ‘Statistics – NSW Centre for Road Safety’, Transport for New South Wales, viewed 15 May 2017, <http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/statistics/>.

Image Credit: Ludo