12 million penalties given to drivers each year

New research by the RAC Foundation has revealed that up to 12 million driving licence holders receive a penalty notice each year.

The 12 million, roughly a third of Britain’s 40 million drivers, is broken down as eight million local authority parking penalties, 2.5 million local authority bus land and box junction penalties, as well as 500,000 late licensing and insurance penalties and one million speeding and red light penalties.

The figure does not include the annual figure of 1.2 million drivers now undertaking a speed awareness course instead of receiving a penalty and points on their licences.

Automated Road Traffic Enforcement: Regulation, Governance and Use, produced by the RAC Foundation and Liverpool Hope University, argues that real-terms reductions in police budgets is ‘perhaps the main driver for the increase in the importance of automation’.

Dr Adam Snow, lecturer in criminology at Liverpool Hope University, claims that it cost £1.5 million for a set of average speed cameras to cover a mile of road in 2000. However, it costs approximately £100,000 per mile today.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “To maintain its legitimacy, automatic enforcement must be viewed by the public as proportionate. While wrongdoing should be punished and not excused, a decline in frontline policing risks an imbalanced approach to enforcement. Millions of motorists are being caught by camera, often for arguably minor misdemeanours, whilst more serious and harmful behaviour goes undetected.

“When it comes to civil enforcement of bus lane and parking infringements authorities should constantly be asking themselves whether the number of notices issued suggest a different method is needed: some bus lanes and box junctions have become renowned as money spinners. If thousands of drivers a day are getting tickets this is a clear indication of a system that is failing.”