How common is speeding? Does the average Australian think our speed limits should be increased? We’ve conducted our own research to find out everything there is to know about speeding in Australia.

Quick Stats

  • 16% of respondents admitted that their regular driving speed is above the speed limit of the road they’re on
  • 9% of respondents have received a speeding fine in the past 12 months
  • 34% of participants said they would drive faster than they normally would if they needed the toilet.

As drivers, one of the first laws we become familiar with is the speed limit. We know that every road has a speed we can go, and you shouldn’t go over it. But as our survey results could indicate, are we forgetting the dangers of speeding?

It’s worth taking a moment to take our foot off the pedal, and consider the real implications of speeding. To help you understand everything there is to know about speeding in Australia, we’ve surveyed 953 Australians through Pure Profile 18+ (with driver’s licenses) to understand:

1.0 What counts as 'speeding'?
2.0 The Risks of Speeding
3.0 Australian Survey Results
4.0 What You Should Consider on the Road

1.0 What counts as 'speeding'?

There are two ways we can think about speeding. The first is in relation to the road’s speed limit, and the other concerns the conditions of the road.


Speed Limit

Once your car is travelling faster than the posted speed limit of the road, you’re classified as speeding. This is typically what police will use to determine the safety of your driving.


Road Conditions

Speeding can also occur when you drive faster than is safe. If you are faced with wet weather, fog, changed traffic conditions, roadworks or other interferences, it’s important to reduce your speed to suit the conditions.

2.0 The Risks of Speeding

2.1 Added Danger

It’s common knowledge that greater speeds carry greater dangers. This is because faster cars require greater distances to slow down, and the potential impacts themselves can be far more damaging.

Stopping Distances Required on Wet Roads

Chance of Survival for a Pedestrian Being Hit By a Car*

*Assuming the pedestrian is a young adult.

2.2 Legal Punishments Across Australia

Speeders in Australia risk a combination of four different punishments if caught, namely – fines, demerit points, potential automatic licence suspensions or even imprisonment. For a more specific view of your state's punishments, you can click the other state's titles to remove them from the graphs below.

Demerit Points
Automatic Licence Suspensions
QLD 177 266 444 622 1245
NSW 123 285 489 935 2520
VIC 207 330 454 620 826
WA 100 200 400 800 1200
SA 180  406 825 1500 1690
TAS 86 172 301 731 989
NT 150 300 300 600 1000
ACT 297 438 438 700 1841
  +9km/h +19km/h +29km/h +39km/h +50km/h
QLD 1 3 4 6 8
NSW 1 3 4 5 6
VIC 1 3 0 0 0
WA 0 2 3 6 7
SA 2 3 5 7 9
TAS 2 3 3 6 6
NT 1 3 3 4 6
ACT 1 3 3 4 6
  +9km/h +19km/h +29km/h +39km/h +50km/h

*Above 25km/h in Victoria, they start issuing automatic licence suspensions.

QLD 0 0 0 0 6
NSW 0 0 0 3 6
VIC 0 0 3 6 12
WA 0 0 0 0 0
SA 0 0 0 0 6
TAS 0 0 0 3 4
NT 0 0 0 0 0
ACT 0 0 0 0 0
  +9km/h +19km/h +29km/h +39km/h +50km/h

Fines and licence penalties have been calculated assuming the driver does not have a provisional/learner licence, they are driving a regular car (under 2.5 tonnes), and they are not in a school zone.

3.0 Australian Survey Results

3.1 On a normal day, how fast would you drive (relative to the speed limit of the road you're on)?

By Age
By State
by Class of Car

National Average: 2.90


Average Score













National Average



Average Score













National Average



Average Score













National Average


Combining all of our Australian respondents, we recorded an average result of 2.9 out of 5, indicating the Australian average is to drive ever-so-slightly below the speed limit. However, participants 25-34 and 35-44 recorded averages above 3, indicating their average is to drive marginally above the speed limit.

When comparing states, Tasmania had the highest average (3.05), indicating they were the most likely respondents to drive over the speed limit. Victorian respondents had the lowest average (2.83), suggesting they are the most likely to drive under the speed limit.

The class of car driven also seemed to correlate to interesting behaviours around speed. Drivers of 4-wheel-drives averaged the highest speeds (relative to speed limits) on a normal day, whereas wagon drivers registered the lowest average.


3.2 Have you received a speeding fine in the last 12 months?

By Age
By State
By Regular Driving Speed

8.6% of our Australian survey participants have received a speeding fine in the last 12 months. However, an obvious trend emerged between the age of a participant, and their likelihood of having received a fine. 17.7% of participants aged 18-24 received a speeding fine in the last year, with that percentage shrinking as our age cohorts grow older. 

Tasmanian respondents had the lowest percentage (4.8%) of having received a speeding fine in the last 12 months, which is an interesting juxtaposition from the finding in Q3.1. Tasmanians responded as having the highest average tendencies toward speeding, yet have the lowest rate of fines. This could indicate that Tasmania is less stringent on speeding.

Less surprisingly, respondents who confessed in Q3.1 that their regular driving speed is over the limit had the highest rates of receiving speeding tickets (20.9%) in the past 12 months. Drivers who say they typically drive under the limit were the least likely to have recently received a speeding fine.


3.3 What do you think should happen to the speed limit on Australian highways, freeways, and motorways?


*”Non-binary” and “other” were options available to participants in this survey, however we did not record enough responses to accurately represent these groups in our discussion.

74% of Australians surveyed were happy with the current speed limits on highways, freeways and motorways. However, 23% would rather see limits increased.

Interestingly, Tasmanian respondents weren’t very dissimilar to the average Australian results, with 72% wanting to keep limits the same, and 24% wanting to see an increase. 27% of Victorian respondents wanted to see limits increase, making them the most eager state in Australia to see limits increase.

When comparing male and female respondents (the only gender profiles accruing enough participants to be considered in these results), another obvious trend emerges. 30% of male respondents want to see speed limits increased, compared to only 17% of female respondents.


3.4 Please select any situations that might cause you to drive faster than you normally would*


*Participants were able to select all that applied, but were also capable of progressing without selecting any results. Therefore, percentages may not add to 100%.


Over 50% of our participants admitted that they drive faster than they normally would when they’re unaware of their speed, or when they’re overtaking on a motorway or highway. Over a third (33.7%) of participants also admitted to driving faster than normal when they need the toilet. 

Almost a third (32.0%) admitted that when they’re late for work or an appointment, they’ll drive faster than they normally would.


3.5 Does your driving change when you have a passenger in the car?

By Age
By Regular Speed

Almost 20% of Australians surveyed said they tend to drive slower when they have a passenger on-board, whereas over 80% said they would drive the same speed they usually would. Younger respondents (18-24) said they were more likely to change their behaviours, with only 65% driving the same rate, and another 33% saying they’d drive slower than they usually would.

Interestingly, respondents who said in Q3.1 that their regular driving speed is over the limit were the most likely to change their behaviour with a passenger. Almost 40% said they would drive slower with a passenger than they would on their own.

4.0 What You Should Consider on the Road

Speeding Doesn’t Save You As Much Time As You Think

In 2010, Associate Professor Eyal Peer published a study showing how speeders often think they’re saving far more time than they are. This effect was called the “time-saving bias”, where drivers think that their speeding is more effective than it really is[3]. In reality, you might shave a minute or two off a long drive – but nowhere near as much as you’d think.

A lot of this comes down to traffic lights. Say lights are on a sequence where they’re green for 45 seconds, then red for the next 90 seconds. Even if you were speeding along the road leading up to the traffic lights, you’re likely to arrive at a red light. But this also means that anyone driving at the speed limit is also likely to arrive at the same red light. So even if one driver was speeding, they end up in the same place at the same time.


People Make Mistakes

No matter how much attention we might be paying, humans make mistakes. Perhaps someone will pull out without properly looking, or maybe they’ll change lanes without checking their blind spot.

In our survey into distracted driving, we found that 12% of participants feel comfortable using their mobile phone while driving, and 65% of those surveyed never use their phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature when driving. There are known dangers of driving distracted, and the odds of making a mistake (and being in an accident) can skyrocket.

Quite often, it won’t be you that causes an accident. But if you’re speeding, you also might not be able to prevent it.


You Won’t Know What’s Dangerous Until it’s Too Late

Maybe you’re used to going 10-15km/h over the limit, and you’ve never felt in danger. That is, until the day that it’s a little damp, and suddenly your grip isn’t quite as good as it needs to be. All of a sudden, what should have been a safe turn sees you swerve off-road, or into oncoming traffic.

Or perhaps it’s around school pick-up time, and from seemingly nowhere, a young pedestrian strays out onto the road. Speed limits in school zones are designed to minimise stopping distances, but even at the road’s normal speed limit, you may not have enough time to stop the vehicle if someone strayed onto the road.

The risks of speeding are sadly all too well-known, and it’s worth considering that even if you’ve never felt the danger first-hand, it does exist. For the sake of saving a matter of minutes on your drive, it’s not worth it.