Drug driving, speeding and dangerous driving all hit record levels in 2021

Side view of black car driving fast.

Shocking figures reveal 2021 was the most dangerous year on our roads since records began.

According to the Ministry of Justice, drug driving, speeding, and dangerous driving all hit record highs.

Convictions for causing death and serious injury by careless or dangerous driving soared, which was also the case in which motorists inflicted serious injury while disqualified. Every day in England and Wales a staggering 206 drug and drink offences are committed.

Over the past five years, convictions for drug driving have more than trebled, going from 7,683 in 2017 to 27,962 last year.

In the past year there has also been a 13 per cent spike in drink-driving cases, with 33,742 motorists hauled before the courts in 2021. The figures correspond to a 7 per cent rise in fatalities last year, with 1,558 people killed in collisions.

Head of roads policy at the AA, Jack Cousens, said: “We are worried that the standard of driving has fallen considerably since the pandemic.

“Too many offences have now reached record highs.

“If we want to achieve the ambition of zero road deaths we need to level up the standard of driving across the country. 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 to chance it.”

Chief Constable Jo Shiner, lead on roads for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Since the introduction of roadside screening devices for drug driving in 2015 we have seen an increase in prosecutions for this offence. I am disappointed that people choose to do such a selfish and dangerous thing and I am determined that we will continue to arrest offenders for these crimes every day.

“Our policing goal remains to save lives and prevent harm by continuing to improve our national information, intelligence and professional knowledge around drink and drug driving and dangerous driving.

“Innocent people die on our roads every year due to the selfish actions of those who drive while intoxicated through either drink or drugs. The families and loved ones of those killed have no choice but to deal with the devastating consequences of such a tragic and avoidable death.”

Last year, a total of 75,159 drink and drug driving offences were successfully prosecuted, an average of 206 a day. Dangerous driving convictions have also leapt to the highest level since 2011, with 5,951 last year.
There has been a rise of 9 per cent in death by dangerous driving offences since 2020. Careless driving prosecutions went up by 78 per cent.

Convictions for causing serious injury by dangerous driving have also rocketed from 45 in 2013 to a record 604 last year.

Similarly, at an unprecedented high was the number of motorists in court for causing bodily harm by furious driving and so was the cases where disqualified drivers caused serious injury.

Speeding convictions in England and Wales have increased by 75 per cent over the past decade from 116,595 in 2011 to 203,545 last year.

In an indication of growing lawlessness, there has been an 84 per cent rise in motorists failing to supply information to police when required over the past decade. In total, 732,363 motoring cases resulted in fines or sentences last year, a rise of almost a quarter on 2020.

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