The Hunter's worst drivers

DRIVERS from Newcastle’s inner-city suburbs are officially the worst in the Hunter, racking up the most speeding and red light camera fines per head.

A Newcastle Herald investigation of Office of State Revenue data revealed more than 880 motorists are caught by police and the Hunter’s fixed speed and red-light cameras each week.

Based on the figures, drivers from Newcastle West, followed by the CBD, The Hill, Bar Beach and Cooks Hill are the biggest hoons and red-light runners, picking up the most fines per licence holder.

It is unclear how many inner-city offending vehicles would be registered to businesses.

Motorists from the Denman/Martindale postcode (2328) were the third worst offenders and then drivers from Greta.

Northern region traffic co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Justin Cornes said the high number of drivers caught doing the wrong thing by fixed cameras was ‘‘a bit of a mystery’’.

‘‘Drivers should be aware cameras are there,’’ Senior Sergeant Cornes said. ‘‘They are not hidden, there is plenty of warning, particularly if you drive in these locations all the time.’’

According to the data, accessed under Government Information Public Access, there were 46,171 Hunter drivers caught speeding and running red lights, fined more than $9.2 million in 2010.

Based on the data the average fine was $200.

The rankings were compiled by cross-referencing licence-holder numbers in each suburb with place of registration of offending vehicles, rather than where breaches were committed.

Suburbs with fewer than 200 licence-holders were excluded.

Scott Holding, driving instructor and owner of Holdings Driver Training, has 22 years experience driving up to 800 kilometres a week in the Hunter.

He said he thought Newcastle drivers were the ‘‘worst in Australia’’.

‘‘Newcastle drivers are extremely aggressive and that’s the biggest drama,’’ Mr Holding said.

‘‘For kids learning it’s a nightmare because of other people on the road.

‘‘I think it’s a courtesy thing, Newcastle drivers are simply not courteous to each other. Drivers in Sydney are more friendly.’’

The data revealed drivers from the CBD, The Hill, Bar Beach and Cooks Hill were most likely to be zapped by fixed and red-light cameras, followed by drivers in Maryville, Broadmeadow and then Merewether and The Junction.

There were 19,015 Hunter drivers fined more than $2.8 million by fixed cameras. The vast majority of speeding fines were for breaking the limit by less than 15km/h.

The leadfoots most likely to be caught by police were drivers from the Upper Hunter with the Denman/Martindale postcode (2328) ranked first, followed by the Broke/Bulga postcode (2330) and then Greta.

NRMA Hunter director Kyle Loades, upon reading the statistics, wanted to reinforce the message that ‘‘speeding does kill’’.

‘‘Nothing is more effective than a greater police presence on Hunter roads,’’ he said.

‘‘Hunter motorists, as per these statistics, are speeding and we must find a way to reduce speeding and therefore reduce accidents.

‘‘We also believe 100 per cent of all revenue raised should be poured into road safety measures, including greater police presence.’’

Police raised $6.35 million from 27,156 speeding drivers, with the average fine being $230.

Senior Sergeant Cornes said police reviewed target areas for mobile patrols weekly.

He said if a problem was observed in a particular suburb, the area would be targeted.

‘‘We primarily task on injury crash locations,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s all about getting people to slow down to prevent injuries and crashes in known locations.’’


Top 10 postcodes for speeding and red-light camera fines per head


Newcastle West


CBD, The Hill, Bar Beach, Cooks Hill


Martindale, Denman, Widden, Giants Creek, Hollydeen, Yarrawa, Bureen, Dalswinton, Mangoola, Keerabee




Maryville, Wickham


Broke, Bulga, Appletree Flat, Big Ridge, Big Yengo, Bowmans Creek, Camberwell, Bridgman, Carrowbrook, Clydesdale


Swansea, Caves Beach, Blacksmiths, Cams Wharf, Catherine Hill Bay, Pelican, Pinny Beach


Branxton, Elderslie, Lambs Valley, North Rothbury, Stanhope, Belford, Stanhope, Dalwood


Jesmond, Lambton, North Lambton


Broadmeadow, Hamilton North

iSource: Office of State Revenue

Driving instructor Scott Holding says these are the top five bad driving habits:

¦ Aggressive driving

¦ Tailgating

¦ Rushing

¦ Distractions

¦ Speeding

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