Recorded vehicle offences at their highest since 2007

Vehicle crimes hit a nine-year peak in 2016, with nearly 3.06 million registered throughout the year – the highest since 3.33 m were detected in 2007.

The peak was driven by an exceptional year for speeding offences, with 2.15 m registered – 28,000 more in 2015. License, insurance and registration offences were also at their highest level since 2011, with an increase of 31,000 over the 2015.

Despite the higher figures, the different areas of car crime has fallen. Accident offences have fallen steadily since the beginning of the years 2000, while dangerous, distracted and drunk driving offences have fallen by more than a quarter since 2009, with about 80,000 fewer crimes recorded.

Theft and unauthorised taking of vehicle offences are also at a new low, as a result of plateauing results in 2013, 2014 and 2015. These offences are about half of what it was in 2005.

IAM Roadsmart, director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said: “Unfortunately, these data demonstrate that we still have a long way to go to make speeding as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving.

“While some of the increase of the volume of speeding offences was caused by a change in the methods of reporting, with those attending driver awareness courses – which have been shown to reduce the recurrence, which is now included, there is no doubt that the acceleration remains a serious security problem.

“The resources are still needed for training and publicity campaigns to drive home the message that road safety is as much about taking personal responsibility, as well as to new methods of execution.”

The critics are quick to point out that with the police, the numbers of a topic of debate, these numbers decline may simply reflect a decrease in the number of prisoners captured, rather than a real fall of offences that are committed.

“The reduction figures are strong indicators of a lack of forces police on the beat, that’s why we are disappointed to see who goes down. We know that is not the case that people are driving more considerately. There are fewer traffic police out there and the main indicator is the reduction in the number of persons in charge for the most serious crimes.” Greig said.

Prosecutions and convictions for those caught speeding are at their highest in a decade, however, according to the Ministry of Justice, with 183,000 people prosecuted and 168,000 convicted. Greig attributed to the increased acceleration of prosecutions to more speed cameras, even though he explained that they are not always the best solution: “The interesting thing about the average cameras is that compliance is high. We will see more average speed cameras in the future, but the problem is that they are more expensive than traditional speed cameras. To address the problem of excess speed, however, we believe that there is still space for people and companies to take more responsibility with the driver training. Too many companies simply do not train their drivers or impose their political leadership.”

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