Drivers handed a penalty notice every 2.5 seconds

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As many as a third (30%) of Britain's 40 million drivers now receive a penalty notice each year, according to new research.

The study for motoring research charity the RAC Foundation found that up to 12 million driving licence holders receive a penalty notice annually -- the equivalent of one every 2.5 seconds or 33,000 every day.

 

 

The 12 million penalties include:

8 million local authority parking penalties

2.5 million local authority bus lane and box junction penalties

500,000 late licensing and insurance penalties

1 million speeding and red-light penalties

However, the figure does not include the 1.2 million drivers who undertake a speed awareness course instead of receiving a penalty and points on their licence, nor the 200,000 drivers a year who attend other courses having committed other types of offences.

It also excludes the five million parking penalties issued to drivers on private land each year.

Dr Adam Snow, a criminology lecturer at Liverpool Hope University, who conducted the research, said that the growing use of camera technology is behind many of the penalties. Cameras are routinely used not only to catch speeding motorists but also those who enter bus lanes or make illegal turns at junctions.

But Dr Snow went on to note that, while cameras are blind to matters of "colour, religion, race, gender and so on", they cannot act with discretion or common sense.

"Automated enforcement promises much in terms of speed and cost efficiency for financially-squeezed police forces and councils," he said. "However, the driving public are entitled to ask for more weighty principles such as fairness and justice to be taken into consideration when confronted with potential wrongdoing."

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, added: "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."

Have you ever received a penalty notice? What do you think about the increased use of cameras?

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