The AA has been analysing data from 2021 in regard to the crown and magistrate court cases for speeding and drug driving. In 2021 there were 21,411 drug-driving cases taken to court, and 208,496 speeding cases heard. Over 96,000 drivers failed to stop and supply their information when asked, 7605 were prosecuted for dangerous driving, and 793 people went to court regarding causing serious injury through dangerous driving.
Worse to Come
This is a seriously concerning statistic, and it doesn't end there. Other motoring convictions that landed drivers in the courts included drinking and driving, with 32,500 people prosecuted and 6169 answering charges of using their handheld mobile phone while driving. Overall, 85.5% of the driver-related court cases ended up with a conviction. This was a starting number of 638,044, meaning that 565,440 were convicted and found guilty. All of the figures were up for the previous year, and to be fair, some of this will be attributable to the fact that the global lockdown happened, so there was a suspension of court proceedings. However, the head of road policy for the AA, Jack Cousens, said his concern is that people are being lazy and allowing their driving standards to fall now that they can get behind the wheel again.
Did We All Forget How to Drive?
Is it possible that people have just forgotten the rules of driving? The only vaguely new offence is driving with a mobile phone, but even that has been around for some time. It does seem strange that driving standards have deteriorated so much since lockdown restrictions were lifted, but the figures don't lie. If you are found guilty of any of the above offences, you will be subject to hefty penalties and find yourself in court. If you cause an accident that ends another person's life, your punishment is likely to include imprisonment. You could also become the victim. Police forces are carrying out roadside tests, and yet this does not seem to deter enough people from getting behind the wheel and behaving in a manner not considered responsible. As the figures show above, over 50,000 people have appeared in court because they were driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol, and we agree with the AA that this is a shocking and serious problem.
Cousens spoke about his fear of the figures, saying, “With record highs of dangerous driving, drug driving and speeding, it is a timely reminder to every driver that being behind the wheel is a serious responsibility and that poor driving can have serious consequences. Drug driving has increased year-on-year since records began, and while more Police Forces are carrying out roadside tests, it seems some people are willing to try and chance it. We need to put more focus on this issue and eliminate it completely from our roads. We hope this is a short-term blight in the figures and that driving standards have improved when the 2022 statistics are announced.”