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More motorists brought to court

New figures from the Ministry of Justice show that prosecutions for motoring offences shot up by 25,000 last year.

The data for 2014, published on 21 May, revealed that there were 591,000 prosecutions in 2014 compared with 566,000 the previous year.

The largest increases in prosecutions were for speed limit offences, which rose by 26 per cent to 159,000 in 2014 and vehicle insurance offences, up by eight per cent to 144,000.

Meanwhile, prosecutions for vehicle registration and excise licence offences, drink-driving, careless driving, using a mobile phone whilst driving and driving licence offences all fell.

Among the most serious motoring offences, prosecutions fell for causing death by careless driving (down by 29 on the previous year to 205 in 2014) but prosecutions for causing death by dangerous driving rose to 176 from 144 in 2013, reversing a decreasing trend since 2007.

Only around one per cent of offenders were given a custodial sentence with 94 per cent of those convicted receiving a fine.

The number of drivers who were disqualified decreased from 65,000 in 2013 to 58,000 in 2014, but the number receiving points on their licence without a disqualification rose for the first time since 2009, increasing by seven per cent from 291,000 in 2013 to 311,000 in 2014.

In April, road safety charity Brake and insurers Direct Line released the findings of a survey of 1,000 drivers revealing that 49 per cent admitted breaking traffic laws. Of those, half said it was due to inattention and the other half admitted doing so deliberately, because they thought they could get away with it or did not agree with the law.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: “As these figures make clear, law breaking on our roads is not just down to a minority but endemic. For whatever reason, many seem to feel they are beyond the law or that traffic laws are somehow optional.

“Traffic laws exist to save lives and prevent injuries and terrible suffering. No matter how experienced or skilled a driver you believe yourself to be, you cannot break them safely.”