It's been figured out, we are driving mad

THE number of defendants in the Magistrates' Court for vehicle or traffic offences went up by 13 per cent across Australia in 2007/08, according to figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Across New South Wales, a total of 71 843 driving offences were adjudicated in the Magistrate's Courts.

“One of the problems in NSW is rather than highly visible police, we have speed cameras,” State Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said. “The more police you see the better you drive.”

Vehicle or traffic offences represented nearly half (45 per cent) the 565,800 adjudicated defendants finalised in Australian Magistrates' Courts in 2007/08; 33 per cent were for driving licence offences, 25 per cent for exceeding the prescribed content of alcohol and 12 per cent for speeding - increases of 20 per cent, 4 per cent and 16 per cent on the previous year respectively.

Nearly a third of defendants (29 per cent) with traffic offences were aged under 25, while people over 45 were more likely to be charged with speeding than those under 25 (19 per cent and 8 per cent respectively).

Men accounted for three times as many defendants charged with road traffic offences than women.

Overall, vehicle or traffic offences have risen by 25 per cent over the last five years, with the largest increase being for driving licence offences which have more than doubled (up 61 per cent) in that time.

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