A1) There are different speed limits for cars, vans, Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and towing vehicles on different types of roads and you must not drive faster than the speed limit for the road and your type of vehicle.
Across all road types, national speed limit single carriageways had the highest level of speed limit compliance for cars in 2016 with only 8 per cent of vehicles exceeding the speed limit (60 mph). For other classes of vehicles, compliance with speed limits on this type of road is lower with 35 per cent of short buses (under 12m), 28 per cent of rigid HGVs and 24 per cent of articulated HGVs exceeding the speed limit.
53 per cent of cars and 56 per cent of vans exceeded the speed limit on 30mph roads. For the larger-sized vehicle types, there were also high levels of speed limit exceedance, with 51 per cent of rigid HGVs, 43 per cent of articulated HGVs and 28 per cent of long buses (over 12m) exceeding the speed limit.
Across all vehicle types, 20 mph roads had the highest level of speed limit non-compliance in 2016. This ranged from 54 per cent for short buses to 81 per cent for cars.
Speed limit: 20 mph
ACPO charging threshold: 24 mph
Summons: 35 mph
Speed limit: 30 mph
ACPO charging threshold: 35 mph
Summons: 50 mph
Speed limit: 40 mph
ACPO charging threshold: 46 mph
Summons: 66 mph
Speed limit: 50 mph
ACPO charging threshold: 57 mph
Summons: 76 mph
Speed limit: 60 mph
ACPO charging threshold: 68 mph
Summons: 86 mph
Speed limit: 70 mph
ACPO charging threshold: 79 mph
Summons: 96 mph
A4) The National Speed Awareness Scheme allows Chief Constables to allow offenders who admit the offence of speeding an opportunity to attend a speed awareness course on the effects and dangers of speeding as an alternative to prosecution.
30 35 39 50
40 46 50 66
50 57 61 76
60 68 72 86
70 79 83 96
Research carried out for the RAC Foundation by Road Safety Analysis in May 2016 identified at least 50 stretches of road which are permanently managed by the cameras with a total length of 256 miles under observation. Average speed cameras are also often used on a temporary basis to manage traffic through roadworks but these are not included in this study.
The 50 stretches range in length from just a quarter of a mile over Tower Bridge in London to 99 miles on the A9 between Dunblane and Inverness in Scotland.
Research for the RAC Foundation by Road Safety Analysis found that on average - having allowed for natural variation and overall trends - the number of fatal and serious collisions decreases by 36 per cent after average speed cameras are introduced.
The average reduction in personal injury collisions of all severities was found to be 16 per cent.
A8) In November 2010 the RAC Foundation published a report - The Effectiveness of Speed Cameras: A review of evidence - into the effectiveness of speed cameras by Professor Richard Allsop of University College London. Amongst the main findings were that national decommissioning of speed cameras could result in about 800 extra people across Britain being killed or seriously injured each year at that time.
In 2011, government instructed that speed camera data going back to 1990, detailing accident statistics before and after fixed speed cameras were installed, should be made publicly available. The RAC Foundation commissioned work, which was carried out once again by Professor Allsop, to provide advice on interpreting this speed camera data. Overall, this new work - Guidance on Use of Speed Camera Transparency Data - reinforces the conclusions in the earlier report but also identifies a number of camera sites in the vicinity of which collisions seem to have risen markedly.
Analysis of the data in this work for 551 fixed speed cameras in 9 areas shows that on average the number of fatal and serious collisions in their vicinity fell by more than a quarter (27%) after their installation.
There was also an average reduction of 15% in personal injury collisions in the vicinity of the 551 cameras.
The estimates for collision reduction were made allowing for the more general downward trend in the number of collisions in the 9 areas in recent years, and for the effect of regression to the mean at sites where collision numbers were unusually high in the period before the cameras were installed.
However the research also highlights 21 camera sites (in these areas) at which, or near which, the number of collisions appears to have risen enough to make the cameras worthy of investigation in case they have contributed to the increases.
Since 2015, data has been completed under a different framework, with different definitions. In particular, reclassification of roles within a force can lead to fluctuations in the number of officers in a particular role. This is particularly apparent for the Metropolitan Police Service (where figures have risen markedly). Latest figures for 2016 show there were 4,934 traffic police officers but these figures are not directly comparable with earlier data.
A10) There were 1,016,827 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued for motoring offences by the police in England and Wales (including police employed traffic wardens) in 2015. This represents a fall of less than 1 per cent compared with the previous year but continues a year-on-year downward trend in the number of FPNs issued since 2005. In recent years, this may in part reflect a number of people attending a speed awareness course rather than receiving an FPN.
Issued FPNs can be endorsable (accompanied with penalty points on licence) or non-endorsable depending on the nature and severity of the offence committed. 868,066 (85 per cent) of the FPNs issued in 2015 were endorsable, and 148,761 (15 per cent) were non-endorsable. Therefore the vast majority of FPNs were accompanied by points on a driving licence.
Although there have been falls in both the number of endorsable and non-endorsable FPNs issued over the last few years (2.2 million endorsable FPNs and 1.1 million non-endorsable FPNs were issued in 2005 respectively), the number of non-endorsable FPNs has fallen at a faster rate than endorsable FPNs. In 2015, the number of non-endorsable FPNs fell by one fifth compared with 2014, while the number of endorsable FPNs issued rose by 4 per cent. This is the first year since 2005 that the number of endorsable FPNs has increased, having fallen year on year between 2005 and 2014.
Over three-quarters (78 per cent) of FPNs issued in 2015 were for ‘speed limit offences’, up 5 percentage points on the previous year, to the highest level recorded. The number of FPNs issued for speed limit offences showed a year-on-year fall between 2005 and 2013, after which there have been increases, including an increase of around 48,000 FPNs (or 6 per cent) in the latest year. The majority (92 per cent) of FPNs for ‘speed limit offences’ were camera-detected in 2015. This was an increase of 2 percentage points on the previous year.
While FPNs for ‘work record or employment’, ‘operator’s licence’ and ‘miscellaneous motoring’ offence groups also saw marginal increases, all other offence types saw a decrease in the number of FPNs issued. Most notably, FPNs issued for ‘seatbelt offences’ fell by 44 per cent between 2014 and 2015, and ‘use of a handheld mobile phone while driving’ fell by 43 per cent over the same period.
See the DfT Press Notice for further information.
Over the two year period from August 2013 – when this measure was introduced – until August 2015, 17,468 people have been convicted of careless driving offences. (The figures come from a Freedom of Information request by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) to every police force in England and Wales. Some 33 out of 43 police forces responded to the IAM’s request).
A12) The number of defendants prosecuted for motoring offences increased by 3 per cent over the last year, from 646,000 in 2015 to 667,000 in 2016, while the numbers of offenders convicted and sentenced increased by 5 per cent. Just over half of defendants prosecuted for motoring offences in 2016 were for prosecuted for speed limit and vehicle insurance offences (51 per cent), with both the number of defendants prosecuted (183,000) and convicted (168,000) for speed limit offences being the highest in the last decade.
The largest increases in the number of defendants prosecuted were seen in ‘Vehicle excise and excise license offences’ (a 21 per cent increase) and Failing to supply information as to identity of driver when required (a 5 per cent increase). The offence showing the largest decrease in defendants prosecuted was ‘Using or causing others to use a mobile phone whilst driving’ (a 27 per cent decrease), while both vehicle theft offences and careless driving (excluding mobile phone use) saw the fewest defendants prosecuted in a decade.
The most serious motoring offences, causing death and injury, saw an increase in the latest year in defendants prosecuted overall. However their proportion among all motoring offences is still very small.
Sentencing trends for motoring offences have remained broadly stable The overall custody rate for motoring offences remained stable at around 1 per cent in 2016, although the vast majority of offenders sentenced for ‘causing death by dangerous driving’ and ‘causing death by careless driving under influence of drink or drugs’ received immediate custody, with custody rates of 97 per cent and 91 per cent respectively.
The use of fines as the main sentence for motoring offences remained stable at 94 per cent of offenders sentenced. This has been the case since 2014, although there has been an increase of 6 percentage points over the last decade. The total number of offenders disqualified increased for the second consecutive year, an increase of 4 per cent, from 60,000 in 2015 to 63,000 in 2016. The total number of offenders endorsed without disqualification (i.e. receiving points on their licence only), increased by 2 per cent, from 348,000 in 2015 to 356,000 in 2016.
This is a 84 per cent increase compared to the 535 people prosecuted in 2013/14.
A15) The Department for Transport’s Statutory Guidance to local authorities on the civil enforcement of parking contraventions can be viewed here.
A16) A map and list of the local authorities outside London who have civil parking enforcement powers can be viewed here.
A17) In 2014/15, the total number of parking Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued by local authorities in England and Wales (excluding London) was 4,406,200. This is a 2 per cent decrease over 2013/14 when 4,490,178 parking PCNs were issued.
The number of Bus Lane PCNs issued in 2014/15 was 863,411. This is a decrease of around 5 per cent compared to the previous year.
The number of parking PCNs appealed to the tribunal dropped by around 7 per cent to 14,490 compared to the previous year. The proportion of appeals allowed by the adjudicators (including those not contested by the council) decreased from 62 per cent to 56 per cent between 2013/14 and 2014/15.
The number of Bus Lane (including Moving Traffic in Wales) PCNs referred to the tribunal reduced by 8 per cent to 4,254 compared to the previous year. The proportion of Bus Lane appeals (including Moving Traffic) allowed by the adjudicators (including those not contested by the council) decreased from 63 per cent to 58 per cent between 2013/14 and 2014/15
In 2015/16, the total number of PCNs (across the full range of traffic and parking offences) issued by London Boroughs and Transport for London was 4,664,281. This compares with a total of 4,746,219 PCNs issued in 2014/15.
Source: London Councils
In 2015/16, 35,828 appeals were determined in the reporting period (this figure includes appeals lodged in the previous year but determined in the reporting year) by the Environment and Traffic Adjudicators. 17,213 appeals were allowed, of which 7,302 were not contested. 18,615 appeals were refused.
Full details of the appeals determined by appeal types (parking, bus lane, moving traffic, London lorry control and litter and waste) can be viewed in the Annual Report.
A18) Official figures show that in 2016/17, private parking companies obtained 4.7 million sets of vehicle-keeper records from the DVLA. The vast bulk of this information is likely to have been used by private parking companies to send penalty charges (‘tickets’) – often up to £100 - to drivers who have allegedly infringed parking rules.
The 4.7 million figure is the highest figure ever supplied by the DVLA and is just over a million higher than in the previous financial year (2015/16, 3.67 million records). It represents an annual increase of 28 per cent.
The data suggests that a private parking ticket is now being issued every 7 seconds, the equivalent of 9 per minute, 538 per hour and 12,904 per day.
Source: RAC Foundation
Latest figures show that in the first quarter of the 2017-18 financial year. the DVLA shared 1.74 million records with private parking companies. This is compared with the 1.06 million records released in quarter one 2016-17.
If the release of data was replicated across the remaining three quarters then the annual total would be 7 million, up from 4.7 million in 2016-17.
Source: RAC Foundation
A19) Between 1 September 2015 and 30 September 2016, POPLA received 49,887 appeals and decided 32,621. Of the appeals decided, 11,217 appeals (34.4 per cent) were allowed and 21,404 appeals (65.6 per cent) refused. On a further 10,682 appeals, the parking operators withdrew from the process on receiving notice of the appeal from POPLA. An appeal that is withdrawn by an operator results in the parking operator cancelling the parking charge.
Source: POPLA Annual Report 2016
The United States have the greatest amount of unpaid fines, owing a total of £11.730 million. They are followed by Japan (£7.827 million) and Nigeria (£6.600 million).
80 diplomatic missions owe more than £100,000 in fines and overall, 145 diplomatic missions owe fines.
Source: Transport for London
A21) Over the course of the 2016/17 financial year, 1,730,936 car practical driving tests were conducted. This was 12.5 per cent higher than the 1,537,735 practical driving tests conducted in the previous financial year and the highest number of practical driving tests conducted since 2008/09.
The pass rate was 47.1 per cent, a small rise from the 47.0 per cent pass rate in the previous financial year.
Source: Department for Transport table DRT0101
The changes to be introduced include:-
- Increasing the Independent driving part of the test to 20 minutes
- Following directions from a sat nav
- Changing the reversing manoeuvres
- Answering a vehicle safety question while the candidate is driving
Full details can be viewed here.
• 80 milligrammes (mg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood (80mg/100ml), or
• 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 ml of breath, or
• 107 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of urine
In March 2011 the Government announced it would not be following the advice of the North Review on Drink and Drug Driving Law and reducing the current drink/drive limit from 80mg to 50mg.
The position is different in Scotland where a new legal alcohol limit was introduced on December 5 2014. Here, the limit is:-
• 50 milligrammes (mg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood (50mg/100ml), or
• 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 ml of breath, or
• 67 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of urine
The call comes after statistics show no progress has been made on drink driving since 2010, with 240 deaths and more than 8,000 casualties reported each year.
England and Wales have one of the highest drink-drive limits in the world. Set at 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood, it is greater than the rest of Europe (with the exception only of Malta), as well as Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The Government of Malta announced recently plans to lower the drink-drive limit to 50mg in a new National Alcohol Policy to reduce harm.
Scotland lowered its limit to 50mg in December 2014, and police figures showed a 12.5% decrease in drink-drive offences in the first nine months. Northern Ireland is set to introduce before the end of 2018 a two-tier drink drive limit, with the general drink-drive limit down to 50mg/100ml, in line with Scotland, and an even lower limit for new and professional drivers.
A25) It is estimated that had the drink drive limit been lowered from 80 to 50mg/100ml at the beginning of 2010, then in every year between 2010 and 2013 about 25 lives would have been saved and 95 people saved from serious injury.
The estimates come from research by Professor Richard Allsop in his report Saving Lives by Lowering the Legal Drink-Drive Limit. The work was jointly commissioned by the RAC Foundation and PACTS.
A26) You could be imprisoned, banned from driving and face a fine if you’re found guilty of drink-driving. The actual penalty you get is up to the magistrates who hear your case, and depends on your offence.
Drivers who drive, or attempt to drive, while over the legal alcohol limit face penalties of:-
• up to 6 months in prison
• an unlimited fine
• a minimum of 12 months' disqualification (3 years for a second offence within 10 years)
Full details of all the penalties that could be incurred through drink-driving can be viewed here.
A27) A magistrate can decide to offer you the chance to take a drink-drive rehabilitation course if you are found guilty of a drink-drive offence and you get a ban of 12 months or more. The court can then reduce the length that you are banned from driving if you complete the course within a certain time. The ban is usually reduced by a quarter.
For full details of a drink-drive rehabilitation course see here.
A28) There were 520,219 breath tests carried out by police in 2015, the lowest number since data collection began in 2002. This represents a fall of 14 per cent when compared with 606,241 breath tests carried out in 2014. The decrease continues the downward trend since the peak of 815,290 breath tests in 2009.
The number of breath tests that were positive or refused in 2015 was 60,019. (11.5 per cent). The proportion of breath tests that were positive or refused has gradually fallen from 20 per cent in 2003 to 11 per cent in 2009 and has remained stable at between 10 per cent and 12 per cent since then.
A29) Yes. Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is an offence to drive whilst unfit through drugs. (A person will be taken to be unfit to drive if his ability to drive properly is for the time being impaired).
For more information on drug driving, see here.
It is now an offence to drive with any of 17 controlled drugs above a specified level in your blood. This includes illegal and medical drugs. The limits set for each drug is different, and for illegal drugs the limits set are extremely low, but have been set at a level to rule out any accidental exposure (i.e from passive smoking).
Officers can test for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside, and screen for other drugs, including ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin at the police station. Even drivers that pass the roadside check can be arrested if the police suspect that your driving is impaired by drugs.
Initial figures show that in 2015, 1,442 motorists in the UK – about 4 a day - were convicted for offences including being in charge of, attempting to drive, or causing death after exceeding the legal drug limit. Conviction rates for the new drug driving offence stand at 98 per cent.
It is also illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider.
If you are the driver, you can only use your phone in a vehicle if you:-
- need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop
- are safely parked
Full details of the law regarding using a mobile phone when driving can be viewed here.
A32) The number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued for driving or riding while using a hand-held mobile phone in 2015 was 16,861. This is down by 43 per cent from 29,749 in 2014 and is down from a peak of 166,805 in 2006.
A33) From 1 March 2017, motorists using a hand-held phone while driving will receive 6 points on their licence and a £200 fine – up from the previous 3 points and £100 penalty. The new rules apply in England, Scotland and Wales.
Remedial courses will also no longer be offered to first-time offenders as an alternative to the Fixed Penalty Notice in order to provide a strong deterrent and to change behaviour.
In addition, your case could go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500.
A34) Latest estimates from the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) are that around 2.8 per cent (around 1 million) of GB motorists drive uninsured. The estimated number of uninsured drivers on the UK's roads has halved over the last decade, from nearly two million in 2005 to around one million now.
The MIB has also estimated that uninsured and untraced drivers kill 120 people and injure 29,000 every year.
Research and surveys also show that uninsured drivers are more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents. In addition, evidence also suggests that uninsured vehicles are used to conduct wider criminal activity.
A35) Analysis from Churchill Car Insurance reveals that East London comes top in the list of the UK’s uninsured vehicle hotspots. 13.4 per cent of vehicles in this area have no insurance. This means that if a motorist was involved in an accident with a car in this area there is a one in eight chance the other vehicle would not be insured.
The next four areas with the highest percentage of uninsured vehicles are North London (9.3 per cent); South East London (9.1 per cent); Liverpool (7.9 per cent); and Bradford (7.6 per cent).
In absolute terms the highest number of uninsured vehicles in the UK is estimated to be located in Birmingham. The UK’s second city is estimated to be home to 55,142 uninsured vehicles. Manchester (37,167), East London (34,436), Belfast (30,504) and Liverpool (27,364) also rank in the top five for the highest number of uninsured vehicles.
Source: Churchill Insurance
A36) It is illegal to drive a vehicle on a road or in a public place without at least 3rd party insurance. Even if the vehicle itself is insured, if you are not correctly insured to drive it you could get penalised.
Data from the Motor Insurance Database is shared with all UK police forces so that their Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras can quickly and easily tell if the vehicle in front of them is insured or not. The police can issue a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points to those caught driving a vehicle they are not insured to drive. Uninsured vehicles can also be seized by the police and the owner will have to pay a £20 per day storage charge and a £150 fee, and produce valid insurance, before the car is released. Cars which are not claimed within a fortnight end up being crushed. Around 30 - 40 per cent of cars which are seized end up being crushed.
If the case goes to court those driving uninsured can get an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving.
In addition, under the Continuous Insurance Enforcement legislation, it is an offence to keep an uninsured vehicle, rather than just to drive when uninsured. The registered keeper of a vehicle must keep it insured unless he or she has made a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). If you are the registered keeper of a vehicle and have not made a SORN, you will receive a letter telling you that your vehicle appears to be uninsured and warning you that you will be given a £100 fine unless you take action. If the vehicle remains uninsured - regardless of whether the fine is paid - it could then be clamped, seized and destroyed. The vehicle will only be released when the registered keeper provides evidence that he or she is no longer committing an offence of having no insurance and the person proposing to drive the vehicle away is insured to do so
Source: Motor Insurers' Bureau
Source: Motor Insurers' Bureau
A39) It is estimated that in 2015, about 1.4 per cent of traffic on roads in the United Kingdom consisted of vehicles which were unlicensed. (The figure for Great Britain was also 1.4%). This is significantly higher than the rate in 2013 (0.6 per cent). The increase is probably due to major changes to the vehicle licensing system which took place in October 2014, especially the automatic refund of tax when a vehicle changes hands.
Of the unlicensed vehicles identified in the survey: 58 per cent had been unlicensed for no more than 2 months at the beginning of the survey; 45 per cent were more than 10 years old; and 41 per cent had changed hands since transferable vehicle tax was abolished on 1 October 2014
The overall rate of unlicensed vehicles in the active vehicle stock in the United Kingdom in June 2015 was estimated to be 1.5 per cent. This corresponds to roughly 560,000 vehicles.
It is estimated that the levels of VED evasion seen in the June 2015 survey would correspond to around £80 million in lost tax revenue over a full year, for the United Kingdom. This is higher than in any year since at least 2007, due to the increase in the evasion rate discussed in the previous sections. This equates to approximately 1.4 per cent of the total VED due, although some of this potentially lost revenue will have been recovered through DVLA enforcement activity or through vehicle keepers paying arrears of duty to cover the untaxed period.
The steps that should be taken to report such a vehicle can be viewed here.
A41) It became compulsory to use seat belts in the front of vehicles in 1983; back seat belt use by children became compulsory in 1989; and for adults it became compulsory in 1991. So seat belt use is compulsory in all vehicles that have seat belts fitted, including vans and other heavier goods vehicles.
There are some exceptions. They are for:-
• Medical reasons. Here, a doctor may say you do not have to wear a seat belt for medical reasons and will issue a "Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt wearing". The Certificate must be kept in the vehicle and shown to a Police Officer if you are stopped.
• A driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing.
• A driver of a goods vehicle undertaking deliveries or collections provided you travel less than 50 metres between stops.
• Drivers and passengers in vehicles being used for police and fire and rescue service purposes.
• A licensed taxi driver who is "plying for hire" or carrying passengers.
• A passenger in a vehicle (not the driver) being used under a trade license and who is investigating a mechanical fault.
Full details can be found here.
A42) The rules for children younger than 12 or under 135 centimetres tall can be viewed here.
Once a child is 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, they must use an adult seat belt.