The evidence was presented to a parliamentary inquiry into speeding, which called for the number of speed zones in NSW to be reviewed and questioned whether double demerit points drive down the road toll.
There have been 277 road deaths in NSW this year, down from 285 the same time last year.
The government said the number of drivers that confessed to being lead-footed was increasing. According to research carried out last year by Transport for NSW's Centre for Road Safety, which has not been publicly released, almost one-third claimed to speed "mostly" or "every time" they drove.
Advertisement The NSW government told the inquiry that public acceptance of low-level speeding was rising, even though it is more dangerous to the community overall than major speeding offences.
University of NSW road safety expert Lori Mooren told the inquiry that drivers "have the expectation that going 10km/h over the speed limit is cool and they are not going to get booked for that", even though the extra speed can be a major factor in fatalities.
The City of Sydney says a pedestrian is twice as likely to die if hit by a car at 50km/h compared to being hit at 40km/h.
Since 2009, NSW drivers have incurred just one demerit point for speeding at 10km/h over the limit or less, down from three demerit points under the old system.
The government conceded that speeding-related casualties increased following the change, but claimed that speed cameras were addressing this trend.
However, the inquiry said the new leniency "may contribute to drivers not taking lower level speeding seriously".
The government claimed that the use of double demerit points during holiday periods had led to fewer fatalities, however Transport for NSW could not produce any recent data from the past three years to support the measure.
The inquiry suggested that more police on the roads, and other safety initiatives, may have contributed to the lower fatalities, and double demerit points could unfairly penalise drivers.
The inquiry was promoted by concern about the number and range of speed zones in NSW. The NRMA argued that multiple speed limit changes along a route confused motorists. The Motorcycle Council of NSW claimed that a 5 kilometre stretch between Annandale and King Street in central Sydney contained seven different speed zones.
The committee recommended that authorities consider reducing the number of speed zones to provide greater consistency.
It also called for improvements in the way police and other authorities determine the cause of a crash, amid concern that the contribution of speeding was being over-estimated, while factors such as fatigue and distraction were understated.
According to the NRMA, 40 per cent of accidents in NSW are attributed to speed, compared to 21 per cent in Queensland and 20 per cent in New Zealand.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/one-in-three-nsw-drivers-admit-to-having-lead-feet-20141111-11jmxe.html#ixzz3InH7pTln