Wimmera speeding statistics alarming

TRANSPORT Accident Commission data shows almost 40 per cent of male drivers aged 18 to 20 surveyed treated speed limits as a guide.

Northern Grampians Highway Patrol members have caught about 150 drivers for speeding during the past week.

Almost 80 per cent of the offending drivers were male.

The Northern Grampians Police Service Area incorporates Northern Grampians, Ararat and Yarriambiack municipalities.

Northern Grampians Highway Patrol Sergeant Peter Hawkins, based in Ararat, said the high percentage of speeding male drivers amazed him.

"The number surprised me," he said. "It is the one thing that stands out; the number of male drivers being detected for speeding, as against female drivers."

A man drove at the highest speed which highway patrol members detected during the past seven days.

Police officers clocked an Ararat man driving at 157 kilometres an hour in a 100kmh zone on the Western Highway, south of Ararat.

Members suspended the man's licence for 12 months and fined him $704.

He also lost eight demerit points.

Sgt Hawkins said young male drivers, aged 18 to 20, were 'not significantly' over-represented in the number of speeding drivers caught in the Northern Grampians area in the past week.

"Probably 10 per cent of those speeding male drivers were in the 18 to 20 age group," he said. "So they were probably over-represented, but not significantly."

A Transport Accident Commission survey found that during the first quarter of 2012, 12 per cent of young men aged 18 to 20 said they were caught speeding, compared to five per cent of the general population.

Thirty-nine per cent of young men surveyed viewed speed zones as guides, rather than the maximum limit, compared to 29 per cent of drivers generally.

Among young male drivers surveyed, the research also found: 97 per cent agreed that driving at 10kmh over the limit was speeding, 13 per cent said if they were sure they would not be caught they would drive over the speed limit, and 15 per cent believed driving up to 10kmh over the limit was usually quite safe.

Commission chief executive Janet Dore said crash investigation data showed excessive or inappropriate speed was a factor in about a third of road fatalities.

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