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Motoring convictions down by half

The number of driving-related convictions has dropped dramatically over the last decade, according to new figures.

It seems drivers are less dangerous behind the wheel than they were a decade ago. Figures compiled and released by the Ministry of Justice reveal the number of motorists found guilty of a traffic offence in England and Wales dropped from 1.4 million in 2002 to 640,000 in 2012.

Gavel time
Gavel time

The number of drivers convicted of ‘dangerous driving’ decreased from 6,300 to 3,500 cases over a ten year period. Speed limit offences changed little, from 124,600 cases in 2002 to 118,600 cases in 2012, suggesting speed cameras are perhaps not as effective at keeping speeders at bay.

‘License, insurance and record keeping offences’ saw the greatest overall drop, from 417,500 guilty verdicts in 2002 down to 161,000 in 2012. Meanwhile the number of motorists guilty of causing death or bodily harm wente up from 400 in 2002 to 500 in 2012.

The figures also show the number of drivers caught on a phone has dropped to 24,800 instances in 2012, which is significantly less than the 36,600 peak achieved in 2010.

While the figures are encouraging, it’s worth noting the number of drivers on UK roads is greater now than it was in 2002 and fuel is far more expensive. There are also fewer traffic cops enforcing the law, although this is counter-balanced by significantly a greater number of enforcement cameras ─ even though many have been switched off by local councils to cut costs.

“We are concerned about dangerous driving which we think has gone down because there are fewer traffic police out there. There are still surveys saying drivers feel stressed because of middle-lane hogging, people driving too close and road rage,” road safety charity Institute of Advanced Motorists bigwig Neil Greig told Confused.com.

So are motorists getting away with dangerous driving more than ever? Possibly, although to prove this would be impossible. Are we better drivers, then? Ten minutes in your local town or city centre would suggest otherwise. All we know is that motorists are getting into trouble less than ever.

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