Surge in careless driving convictions

Newly released figures show that more than 17,000 drivers have been convicted of careless driving in the space of just two years.

New powers were granted to the police in August 2013, allowing them to issue on-the-spot fines to motorists who put the lives of other road users at risk – and since then the number of offenders has rocketed.

The figures show a total of 17,468 people were convicted of careless driving between August 2013 and August 2015, with offences ranging from tailgating and lane hogging to poor driving discipline.

While the offences fall under the lower end of the scale for motoring transgressions, Sarah Sillars, chief executive officer of the Institute for Advanced Motorists, said such driving behaviour could easily cause a serious accident.

She hopes the on-the-spot fines and remedial courses have made drivers think twice about potentially hazardous manoeuvres on the road.

The powers mean officers can issue £100 fines and three penalty points on a licence rather than taking drivers to court. But offenders can choose whether to pay the fine or go on a driving course instead.

Essex saw the highest number of convictions for careless driving, according to the data, with 3,630 over the two-year period. Humberside, Nottingham, Derbyshire and Hampshire made up the rest of the top five.