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Motoring offences hit all-time high

31 March 2006

Motoring offences in England and Wales have risen dramatically to 13.5 million offences, according to Home Office statistics – that's a third more than 10 years ago.

The statistics mean that almost one in every two cars or lorries registered in the UK has been involved in a motoring offence, with 466 offences recorded per 100 vehicles in 2004, compared with 355 in 1994.

Fixed penalty notices account for the bulk of offences – 11 million in total. Of these, 7.7 million were parking tickets from local authority wardens, an increase of 7%. Speeding accounted for 2.3 million offences, while the remainder were for insurance, tax disc and MoT violations.

Roadside cameras provided evidence in two million cases, with 94% involving speeding. The rest was for drivers jumping red lights.

In other driver-related offences, more than 70,000 £30 fines were collected for drivers using hand-held mobile phones in the first year it became an offence to do so. Soon, the fine for holding a hand-held mobile phone when driving is to be doubled to £60, with three points going on drivers' licences, too.

Breath tests were up 8% from 2003 in England and Wales, but the number of positive tests or drivers refusing tests fell by 3%.

The Home Office statistics also showed that men are the worst when it comes to serious offences, with 90% of offenders being male. Serious offences include dangerous driving, loading offences, theft of a motor vehicle, or causing death or bodily harm.

The most common offences committed by women included obstruction, waiting and parking offences, speeding, and road tax evasion.

Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman also announced that permission had been granted for another 200 camera sites, to rise from 4500 to 4700.

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