By James Gratton
Last updated on: September 24, 2020 at 3:52 pm
From speeding to driving unregistered, thousands of South Australians are caught red-handed every year breaking the road rules put in place to keep us safe.
But have you ever wondered which laws are most commonly disobeyed?
We’ve broken down the figures to find out how many fines were issued in the 2019/20 financial year, and which topped the list.
1. Speeding – 183,430 fines
Unsurprisingly, speeding sits atop the list, with 183,430 fines handed out in 2019/20.
Travelling 10–19km/h over the speed limit proved the most ticketed offence, with 100,799 fines issued.
Just over 68,000 tickets were issued for exceeding the limit by less than 10km/h.
RAA’s Senior Manager of Safety and Infrastructure, Charles Mountain, says many drivers don’t realise even a small increase in speed puts lives at risk.
“Your crash risk doubles for every 5km/h over the limit you go on a 60km/h road,” he says.
The fine for exceeding the speed limit by 10-19 km/h.
2. Running red lights – 31,005 fines
Running a red light was another expensive mistake plenty of South Aussie drivers made last year, with about around 31,000 tickets issued during that time.
“Red light running poses a real danger to traffic and pedestrians about to cross — you have a real possibility of getting T-boned with a potential for serious or fatal injuries,’’ Mr Mountain says.
“Motorists about to get the green light should always check for a red-light runner before moving off — people turning right must ensure the traffic coming towards them has stopped before they turn.’’
3. Driving unregistered – 25,806 fines
Some drivers often forget to renew their registration, while others will purposefully break the law as they think they won’t get caught.
No matter the excuse, these drivers can expect hefty fines if caught by police or detection cameras.
Last year, more than 25,000 tickets were handed out to drivers who didn’t register their vehicles.
You can avoid this situation by opting in for text and email reminders through a mySA Gov account.
You’ll then receive a digital reminder via email or SMS 6 weeks before your rego is due.
4. Expired/inappropriate licence – 7346 fines
It might sound obvious, but it’s illegal to drive a car without holding a current driver’s licence for that class of vehicle.
Even though it’s common knowledge for many South Aussies, more than 7300 drivers were caught last year with an expired or inappropriate licence.
Once again, you can set a reminder by setting up a mySA Gov account.
5. Driving uninsured – 7078 fines
In South Australia, compulsory third-party insurance (CTP) is a part of your vehicle’s registration and will lapse 30 days after your rego expires.
So, if you miss your rego payment by more than 30 days, you could be hit with a fine for both driving unregistered and driving uninsured.
The compulsory third-party insurance covers injury to others in the event of a crash involving your vehicle, so it’s essential your policy is current
Last year, more than 7000 SA motorists were caught out without this basic level of cover.
6. Using a mobile phone – 5837 fines
It’s an all-too-common occurrence to pull up to the traffic lights and spot several drivers using their phones.
According to a recent study commissioned by the Australian Automobile Association on behalf of RAA and our sister clubs around the country, 33% of drivers admitted to using a hand-held device behind the wheel.
Even more concerning, 50% of these drivers used their phone when in moving traffic.
But do so and you risk both your life and being nabbed by police. In fact, nearly 6000 fines were handed out in 2019/20.
7. Drink driving – 4152 fines
We all know how severely alcohol can impact our ability to operate a vehicle.
From impaired concentration and increased aggression to delayed decision making – the list goes on.
Despite the obvious dangers, 4152 tickets were handed out by police last year for drink driving.
Just over 1500 drivers were fined for having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.08 and 0.149, while 1173 were caught with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.079.
While figures are reflective of the state of drink driving on our roads, they only capture people caught low and mid-range drink driving. This is because people caught for higher-level offences are issued a court summons, rather than an on-the-spot fine.
8. Drug driving – 3842 fines
Like drink driving, driving under the influence of illicit drugs is a recipe for disaster.
But many drivers don’t realise how long drugs can stay in your system.
Depending on the amount used and the driver’s metabolism, some drugs can still be present in your system for more than 24 hours.
Last financial year, a staggering 3842 people were issued fines for drug driving.
The most common drug found in drivers’ systems was methylamphetamine followed by THC.
The number of people caught driving with methylamphetamine in their system.
9. Not wearing a seatbelt – 2846 fines
The importance of wearing a seatbelt has been drummed into us from a very early age.
Unfortunately, thousands of drivers still risk their safety by choosing not to buckle up.
In fact, 2846 tickets were issued last year.
Wearing a seatbelt doubles your chances of surviving a serious crash, with 25% of all people killed in a crash not wearing a seatbelt.
10. Failing to give way – 2370 fines
Not giving way to someone, whether it’s a pedestrian or another driver, can prove to be a very dangerous mistake.
Despite this, 2370 fines were issued to South Australian drivers last year for failing to give way.
The most common give way offences on our roads were at T-intersections, when changing lanes and at roundabouts.