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European brands most likely to speed in SA

Mercedes-Benz drivers record 0.824 fines per registered car on South Australian roads.
News Corp Australia network

22 Jun 2015 • 4 min read

South Australia's worst leadfoots are at the wheel of luxury European makes like Mercedes, and an industry expert has blamed their high performance for "insulating" drivers' perception of speeds.

Owners of luxury European models and are up to four times as likely to be caught breaking the law compared to Japanese or Korean makes.

Analysis of SAPOL and Transport Department figures shows Mercedes drivers are by far the worst in the state, recording 0.824 fines per vehicle in 2014/15.

This compares to the least-fined of the large manufacturers, Isuzu with only 0.186 fines per car.

Experts at a loss to explain the bias against luxury cars, and police have denied they give the drivers special treatment.

Some of the more expensive vehicles are capable of extremely rapid acceleration

It is the first time the figures have become available because of a Weatherill Government reform called "open data", in which government departments are forced to release large amounts of information on their websites.

RAA Senior Manager Road Safety, Charles Mountain said the nature of luxury cars, rather than driver behaviour may be to blame.

"Modern vehicles, particularly some of the more expensive vehicles are capable of extremely rapid acceleration and insulate the driver to such an extent that it may mask a driver's perception of speed," he said.

"Irrespective of the vehicle being driven, whether it be a luxury import or a reasonably priced runabout, it is important for their safety and that of other road users that they drive to the conditions and abide by the prevailing speed limits on the roads on which they are travelling."

The type of vehicle doesn't determine if police take action, it is based on the nature of the offending

When asked a series of questions about the issue, SAPOL issued a one line response: "The type of vehicle doesn't determine if police take action, it is based on the nature of the offending".

While Holden drivers amassed the most fines in 2014/15 with 72,847 there are 239,804 Holdens on the road.

In comparison, Mercedes drivers were hit 13,157 times for only 15,959 registered vehicles.

Only two non-luxury brands were in the top ten and six in the top 20 fined-per-registered-car for 2014/15.

Other than Holden, which was the eighth most fined vehicle on the road, none of the large-volume, inexpensive makes is in the top 25 of most fined vehicles.

There are some exceptions however, with the low-volume Dodge and Proton makes ranking second and third, Ferrari ranking thirty fourth and Jaguar thirty eighth.

One of the cheapest vehicles on the road, the Chinese Great Wall is ranked highly at sixteenth.

Car makes most likely to be fined

(Make - fines per car - total fines)
1 Mercedes - 0.824 - 13,157 
2 Dodge - 0.377 - 318
3 Proton - 0.356 - 268
4 Renault - 0.350 - 1149
5 Saab - 0.346 - 388
6 Range Rover - 0.345 - 351
7 Audi - 0.326 - 2074
8 Holden - 0.316 - 72,847
9 Mini - 0.313 - 331
10 Fiat - 0.309 - 310
11 Daewoo - 0.305 - 1475
12 Jeep - 0.313 - 2270
13 Lexus - 0.293 - 951
14 SsangYong - 0.289 - 214
15 BMW - 0.284 - 5032
16 Great Wall - 0.284 - 290