NSW’s shocking COVID-19 driving habits
Exclusive: NSW Police have issued a shocking number of speeding fines to drivers across the state who are hitting the roads under a belief they are safer during COVID-19 lockdown conditions.
Data obtained by News Corp has revealed traffic and highway patrol officers handed out more than 28,000 infringements to motorists from mid-March to late April.
The worrying figure is 1,500 more than what was issued across the same period last year.
More than 7,000 fines were given to drivers who had exceeded the speed limit by more than 20km/h, including more than 1,800 issued to those flouting the permitted speed by 30km/h or more.
Commander of the state's Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said bad driving behaviour would not be tolerated.
"With fewer vehicles on the roads, speeding offences have become more prevalent," Mr Corboy said.
"No matter how light the traffic conditions are, speeding is always unacceptable. Anyone flouting the road rules should expect to be caught."
The data also revealed more than 1,100 fines had been issued for drink-driving offences over the same period, down from 2,230 last year.
It comes as an Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) survey revealed a quarter of NSW respondents admitted to taking road risks since the implementation of COVID-19 lockdowns.
The research also suggested complacency was on the rise in the state, with almost 70 per cent thinking roads were safer under current conditions.
Nearly a fifth admitted to speeding more often, while seven per cent said they were using their mobile phone more frequently while driving.
It comes on top of other concerning figures in the survey, which showed more than two in three NSW motorists admitted to ordinarily breaking a road law.
More than half of respondents said they sped and, a quarter had driven while over the legal alcohol limit.
A third said they had used their mobile phone while behind the wheel.
The data mark's the launch of the ARSF's Fatality Free Friday campaign, which urges motorists to drive safely on May 29 and any other time they head out onto the road.
The organisation's CEO Russell White warned there was no excuse for risky driving behaviour.
"Sadly, with fewer cars on the roads during coronavirus, we're seeing an increase in bad driver behaviour, which is unacceptable," Mr White said.
"Road trauma at any time is tragic, but it's also largely preventable. While our incredible frontline medical and emergency services are already working harder than ever, is that text message or few extra minutes worth adding extra pressure on these resources?"
"For every road death, another 35 Australians are hospitalised. Don't let a split second decision change your or someone else's life forever."
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said he backed the initiative.
"Road safety is of vital importance to each and every Australian. We all know someone who has lost their life on the road." Mr McCormack said.
"This is so tragic. Fatality Free Friday reminds us of just how important road safety is."
Originally published as Sydney's shocking COVID-19 driving habits