Earlier this month the Ministry of Justice issued figures that showed that the total number of magistrates' court proceedings for motoring offences fell from one million in 2010 to 888,000 in 2011, down 12.6 per cent. The findings also show that the number of people facing prosecution in magistrates' courts fell from 630,900 in 2010 to 566,800 in 2011, down 10 per cent.
Do these figures mean that we are becoming a nation of safer drivers, or is it that there are more drivers simply not getting caught?
The expansion of awareness courses for offences like speeding could well be having an impact on these figures – more people are opting for courses rather than points, which results in fewer offences. It's a good example of how training and skills are the best way to improve driver and rider safety. The trick for all of us involved with the IAM is to encourage people to invest in driver training before they are caught speeding or fined for a motoring offence.
But while we fully support increasing and improving courses for some driving offences including speeding, we need to know why fewer drivers are being prosecuted for the more serious offences. The number of people facing prosecution for causing death by dangerous driving fell from 282 in 2010 to 201 in 2011, down nearly 30 per cent.
The government needs to explain the reasons for such a dramatic fall, so we can be sure the numbers are falling for the right reasons. It could be that more bad and dangerous drivers are simply getting away with it.