Caught on camera

UK drivers receive penalty notices every 2.5 seconds. Up to 12 million notices are issued each year, meaning a third (30%) of drivers are likely to receive one each year – and this does not include the 1.4 million drivers who undertake various awareness courses rather than take the points, or the five million penalties for parking on private land.

The findings come from the Automated Road Traffic Enforcement: Regulation, Governance and Use – for the RAC Foundation by Dr Adam Snow, a lecturer in criminology at Liverpool Hope University.
This total figure is broken down broadly into eight million local authority parking penalties; 2.5 million local authority bus lane and box junction penalties; 500,000 late licensing and insurance penalties; and one million speeding and red-light penalties.

The report also found that 90% of all speeding offences in 2015 were captured on camera, with dedicated police traffic officer numbers falling by 24% from 2010 to 2014.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said, ‘While wrongdoing should be punished and not excused, a decline in frontline policing risks an imbalanced approach to enforcement. Millions of motorists are being caught by camera, often for arguably minor misdemeanours, whilst more serious and harmful behaviour goes undetected.

‘When it comes to civil enforcement of bus lane and parking infringements authorities should constantly be asking themselves whether the number of notices issued suggest a different method is needed: some bus lanes and box junctions have become renowned as money spinners. If thousands of drivers a day are getting tickets this is a clear indication of a system that is failing.’

Dr Snow added, ‘Automated enforcement promises much in terms of speed and cost efficiency for financially-squeezed police forces and councils. However, the driving public are entitled to ask for more weighty principles such as fairness and justice to be taken into consideration when confronted with potential wrong doing.’