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6/3/2007
Study: Higher Fines Fail to Deter Speeding Offenses
A government study in New South Wales, Australia found higher levels of fines fail to deter speeding offenses.

NSW Bureau report
A government study in New South Wales, Australia found higher levels of traffic fines failed to deter repeat speeding offenses. The findings, released on May 23, match those of a March study that found fines and license demerit points had little deterrent value for Maryland drivers.

"The level of fine imposed by the court has no marginal deterrent effect on driving offense recidivism," the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research concluded. "The most consistent predictors of returning to court were individual attributes of the offender. Having no prior offending history was generally the strongest indicator that a convicted driving offender would desist from committing further offences."

The bureau looked at court records of 70,000 individuals who appeared in court for any driving offense between 1998 and 2000. The study of the effects of various penalties was found to be "much needed" and the largest of its kind in Australia.

Researches discovered that motorists who offered a guilty plea for speeding offenses received higher fines on average and that increasingly harsh license suspension penalties has the opposite of the intended effect:

"For this offender group (speeding offenses) there is a significant, positive association between license disqualification and recidivism, indicating that a longer period of license disqualification actually increases the probability of subsequent driving offending," the study found.

NSW officials have consistently argued that higher fines were essential. Between 1993 and 2005, the average fine increased 70 percent from $358 to $608, generating A$34,369,024 in revenue in 2005.

"It is truly amazing that nearly all motoring authorities are eternally blind to the bigger picture, fear is not a positive deterrent," the Australian Car Advice website editorialized. "It is essential for authorities to understand that it is far more effective to teach motorists the limits of their driving capabilities in a controlled environment in the hope of improving driver skill."

The full report is available in a 517k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File The deterrent effect of higher fines (NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, 5/23/2007)

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