Court cases against motorists show impressive drop

Motorhome insurance experts will note with interest the latest figures emanating from a leading motoring charity and the effects they may have on setting future premiums.

Research by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) shows that court proceedings against motorists dropped by over 12% in 2011 compared to figures in 2010. With just over a million court proceedings involving motoring offences in 2010 it is little surprise that there was a drop in 2011, but the drop to 880,000 took many people by surprise. IAM got their statistics from official Ministry of Justice figures that were released this month and which also show seemingly good news in many areas.

The number of people brought before the courts for driving offences which resulted in a fatality dropped from 694 to 614, a drop of 11.5%. This figure includes 201 cases of causing death by dangerous driving which shows a massive drop of 28% compared to the 2010 figure of 282. The good news was repeated in figures involving prosecutions for car theft which dropped by 10% and there was an 18% drop in the number of motorists who were summarily taken into custody and jailed after committing motoring offences. Prosecutions concerning drivers who failed to stop at the scene of an accident also fell by 10%.

Of course there is the question of why the figures are so good? Is it because drivers are suddenly becoming better and more aware of their responsibilities or is that the forces of law are not catching so many miscreants? Well one answer maybe that alternative penalties are being taken by drivers. Certainly the drop of 10% in prosecutions for speeding could well be explained by drivers opting to pay for remedial driving courses rather than get points on their licence; and of course another reason may be that the current level of austerity being experienced by much of the population is simply making them more careful when they get in a car.

If the drop in prosecutions is simply down to a drop in police enforcement then of course it is a cause for concern, however, the fall across the whole spectrum of offences does give a cause of optimism that motorists are at last becoming better drivers.

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