A decrease in the number of recorded motoring offences has been attributed to police cuts rather than an improvement in driving standards.

Concerned MPs have made the claims after a correlation between the number of traffic officers patrolling UK roads and the number of recorded motoring offences was noticed.

Between 2005 and 2014 the number of specialist road policing officers in England and Wales fell from 7,104 to 4,356, while the number of motoring offences logged more than halved, from 4.3 million to 1.5 million.

A report released by the Transport Select Committee, in which the correlation was addressed, also drew attention to the increasing use of technology to enforce traffic laws.

"For enforcement to be successful and for educational campaigns to be convincing there must be the likelihood that offenders will be apprehended,” it said.

"There is a growing concern that the lack of specialist dedicated road traffic officers means that 'minor' offences such as careless driving cannot be effectively detected and enforcement action taken."

Labour MP Louise Ellman, who chairs the committee, commented: "The fall in overall road offences does not reflect an improvement in driving."

Her comments were supported by the report, which also noted that the number of offences that resulted in a fatality had not fallen.

The report praised the government for focusing on the main four causes of road deaths – alcohol, speeding, mobile phones and not wearing a seatbelt – and urged the Department for Transport to ensure detection rates for these offences remained high.

It also recommended that research was carried out into whether driver re-education courses proved as an adequate deterrent.

Author: Laura Thomson

Jack Evans


After completing his university studies in English and Creative Writing in Cardiff, Jack is now a full time motoring writer at Blackball Media. His love of cars stems from his childhood years when he began to live and breathe all-things automotive.

March 15, 2016