Record-breaking speeding fines and soaring mobile phone use while driving

Man in blazer using and talking on smartphone while driving a car at sunset, looking carefully at the road, back view.

According to new figures from the Home Office, there have been record-breaking fines for speeding, and the number of drivers caught using a mobile phone while driving has also dramatically climbed.

In 2022, almost 2.5 million drivers may have been issued a fixed penalty, required to complete a driving awareness course, or sent to court.

Meanwhile, since stricter regulations prohibiting using mobile phones while driving went into effect in March 2022, the number of drivers breaking the law has increased by 93% annually.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “Almost 3 million drivers were caught and prosecuted for how they acted on the roads.

“With speeding at a record high, it is a timely reminder that the best regulator of speed is the driver’s right foot.”

He added: “The tightening of the law for using a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel saw a significant increase in drivers being issued fines and points.

“The AA led the campaign to highlight the dangers of picking up the phone while driving, now we need drivers to hang up their handset rather than fiddle with the phone.”

The Home Office data also shows that offences for disobeying traffic signs and pedestrian rights increased by a third from 2021 to 2022 after the Highway Code was revised in January 2022. These modifications included a hierarchy of road users and improved protections for pedestrians.

This comes after recent RAC study revealed that 31% of drivers believe that pedestrians are in significantly more risk at junctions despite the fact that the Highway Code’s modifications were intended to increase safety.

Operation Snap helping forces

Even though police officers and official enforcement cameras catch most of the infractions and issue the penalties, the growing popularity of dashcams in cars, along with cameras worn by cyclists and horse riders, is contributing to Operation Snap’s ability to catch reckless driving.

Since more and more citizen-owned cameras are being used to capture evidence of reckless and dangerous driving, the likelihood of being caught has increased dramatically. This has been reported to police forces around the United Kingdom.

Cousens said: “With the rise of dashcams and riders wearing cameras, drivers behaving badly should beware that someone is always watching.

“Police forces are utilising the footage to hold drivers to account and using the film as evidence to prosecute offenders.

“Police owned and private cameras are a useful tool in catching bad driving in the act, but we do not want to see an overreliance on technology.

“The best way to deter illegal driving behaviours is to increase the number of traffic officers and visible presence on our roads.”

AA Analysis of Home Office Motoring Fixed Penalty Notices

Offence Description201120122013201420152016201720182019202020212022Number
(thousands)
%
Careless driving offences (excl. use of handheld mobile phone while driving)5.8 6.3 8.5 15.0 16.4 16.8 15.3 18.5 24.6 30.2 41.9 42.7 0.81.8
Use of handheld mobile phone while driving162.4 133.7 113.7 97.4 86.4 79.9 53.0 38.5 28.3 17.9 19.6 37.9 18.293.0
Licence, insurance and record-keeping offences94.6 92.6 87.5 76.2 72.2 85.9 91.3 95.9 102.2 114.5 111.1 102.0-9.1-8.1
Work record or employment offences6.5 7.6 6.3 4.8 5.6 5.2 5.5 5.7 5.0 3.2 3.3 3.7 0.411.3
Operator’s licence offences 0.1  0.1  0.1  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.1  0.0 -0.0 -15.4 
Vehicle test and condition offences 82.0  84.1  87.1  68.9  60.8  58.3  50.9  49.1  51.9  41.0  55.3  51.8 -3.5 -6.4 
Speed limit offences 1,494.2  1,590.4  1,659.8  1,863.3  1,945.0  1,970.2  2,013.8  2,101.6  2,253.9  2,006.4  2,371.8  2,522.6  150.7 6.4 
Neglect of traffic signs and directions and of pedestrian rights 146.5  127.9  116.1  98.3  125.9  100.4  95.7  102.0  92.8  68.5  78.9  105.5  26.6 33.8 
Obstruction, waiting and parking offences 125.8  98.0  56.9  47.4  44.5  38.7  32.9  31.7  32.1  24.2  18.3  15.8 -2.5 -13.4 
Lighting and noise offences 15.2  14.5  17.4  11.2  8.2  8.4  6.5  6.7  7.2  7.8  8.0  8.0  0.0 0.1 
Other offences 10.9  11.8  10.8  9.2  7.0  7.2  7.1  7.1  7.4  9.9  13.0  13.7  0.7 5.4 
Miscellaneous motoring offences (excluding seat belt offences) 1.1  0.9  0.6  1.4  1.8  0.7  0.3  0.3  0.4  0.4  0.6  0.6  0.0 7.9 
Seat belt offences 137.0  133.2  86.3  45.3  29.6  19.6  18.5  21.6  39.7  48.2  50.4  48.4 -2.0 -3.9 
  2,282.1  2,301.0  2,251.1  2,338.3  2,403.5  2,391.4  2,390.9  2,478.8  2,645.8  2,372.1  2,772.2  2,952.7  180.5 6.5  
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