Speeding is driving at high speed. It is not a traffic offence to speed up while driving but it becomes punishable when the driving exceeds the speed limits set by the law or the authorities. Speed limit signs are put up along the road and drivers are expected to adhere to these limits when they drive.
The Main Roads of Western Australia is the government agency that is in charge of determining the speed limits and they are also responsible for erecting the road signs. Speed limits are determined by expert engineers who take into consideration the location’s urban population, topography of the area and the road design.
Unless otherwise specified by a road sign, a driver must maintain a speed of 50 km/hr which is the default speed limit. In school zones and areas where there is high pedestrian activity a 40 km/hr speed applies. In open areas or outside of a metropolitan area a driver can speed up to 110 km/hr.
The speed limits mentioned in the previous paragraph are enforced by the police with the use of speed cameras. Cameras are placed in strategic visible areas where three types of speeding may be caught:
Excessive speeding wherein the driver was driving over and above the speed limit;
Low level speeding with the driving going at 5 km/hr over the allowed speed limit;
Inappropriate speeding where the driver’s speed is too fast for the weather, road and traffic conditions.
The Office of Road Safety, which by the way is responsible for researching and making policies about road safety strategies, reports that 40% to 45% of drivers are driving over the allowed speed limit. Contrary to the common misconceptions, speed cameras are not for the purpose of revenue raising. Speed cameras have been found to have a direct correlation with the decrease of speeding related road accidents. The visibility of speed cameras and the knowledge of drivers that these cameras are present to record their driving deter them from going over the limit.
Speeding is punished by fines and demerit points. The penalties vary with the kind of vehicle used while driving and the km/hr over the speed limit. For example, a car less than 22.5 tonnes gross combination mass that was driven at more than 9 km/hr but not more than 19 km/hr will be fined $200 and will be penalized with 2 demerit points. These penalties are strictly for speeding. If injuries, death or damages were caused because of the speeding then a more serious charge will most likely be filed against the driver.