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RAC comments on sharp fall in penalty notices issued for motoring offences

News   •   Oct 27, 2016 11:42 BST

Commenting on figures released today that show a sharp drop in the number of fixed penalty notices issued for motoring offences, RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said:

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “The number of FPNs issued for offences ranging from careless driving to jumping traffic lights, and from parking offences to using a handheld phone at the wheel have all declined significantly as scant police resources are focused elsewhere.

“Figures released today by the Home Office are a stark indication that the sharp fall in the number of dedicated roads policing officers in England and Wales has led to a 29% fall in the number of fixed penalty notices for key motoring offences in the five years to 2015.

“The only common offence to have maintained the level of notices issued is for speeding where 738,000 FPN’s were issued in 2011 compared with 791,000 in 2015, a 6.6% increase, but this is where speed cameras are employed on a grand scale to catch offenders and automatically issue notices. Data shows that in 2015, 730,000 speeding offences were camera detected, whilst only 61,000 were non-camera detected – just 8%.

“The number of FPN’s issued for handheld mobile phone use has fallen by 86% between 2011 and 2015 from 123,000 to 17,000, the number given for neglecting traffic and pedestrian lights has dropped by 65% from 118,000 to 42,000, and for parking offences has declined by 67% from 130,000 to 43,000 in the same period.

“The evidence is plain to see - the reduction in dedicated roads policing officers has been matched by a sharp fall in the number of penalty notices which is sending the message to many drivers that they are unlikely to be caught for these motoring offences which overwhelming rely on the physical presence of an officer to be detected and caught.

“In May the RAC revealed a 27% reduction in the number of dedicated roads policing officers in England and Wales outside London with the number falling by 1,437 since 2010 to just 3,901 in 2015. This is equivalent to losing five officers every week whose responsibilities are predominantly roads policing and accident investigation.

“The RAC’s latest Report on Motoring showed that the number of motorists who rank concern over other drivers breaking traffic laws as a top-four concern has increased from 19% in 2015 to 23% in 2016. A clear majority (61%) believe that there are not enough police on the roads enforcing driving laws while a worrying 27% agreed with the statement ‘I don’t think I am very likely to get caught if I break most motoring laws.’”