Stricter penalties paying off

A Freedom of Information request for data from the Ministry of Justice has discovered exactly what impact increased driving fines have had on motorists’ behaviour.

The research, undertaken by Warranty Direct, looked at figures from the past five years.

It found that the number of speeding fines issued annually between 2013 and 2016 increased 68%, rising steadily or remaining the same year on year. But after stricter fines were introduced in 2017, not only did the number of fines stop increasing, but they even dropped by 8.5%. Data showed that last year recorded the lowest number of fines for four years, and if this drop continues next year, the number issued for speeding will drop below 100,000 for the first time since 2013 (to 93,000).

It also found that fines for using a mobile phone while driving decreased even more dramatically. The number issued dropped 44% in 2017 compared with the same period in 2016, and by 59% compared to five years prior in 2013.

Road safety site, Think, found you’re four times more likely to be in a crash if you’re using a mobile phone while driving, and also four times more likely to crash while travelling at 40mph than 30mph.

Simon Ackers, CEO of Warranty Direct, said, ‘It’s great to see these updated driving laws have had a significant, positive impact on driving behaviours, in such a short space of time.

‘I don’t believe it’s just the increased financial penalties influencing people’s driving behaviour either, as motoring authorities have increased their efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of unsafe driving.

‘We fully support any new measures which, make our roads safer for both drivers and pedestrians. I believe more motorists are truly beginning to understand the consequences of speeding and using their mobile phones at the wheel.’