Skip advert
Advertisement

Video uploads by ‘citizen police’ drive explosion in penalties for mobile phone use and other driving offences

Cameras and phone uploads are driving an increase in fines for phone use but penalties declined for offences requiring police ‘boots on the ground’

The latest figures issued by the Home Office reveal that the number of fixed penalties issued to speeding drivers has reached record levels, with more than 2.5 million drivers receiving a fine in the post or from a magistrate, or being sent on speed awareness courses.

However, the annual rise in speed-related offences is small compared to the increase in fixed penalty fines for using mobile phones at the wheel. Tougher laws were introduced in March 2021, and the number of penalties issued increased by a whopping 93 percent to more than 37,000. There were also large increases in numbers of drivers being penalised for neglect of traffic signs and of pedestrian rights, which were up by a third to 105,000.

Much of the increase in fixed penalty activity is associated with offences being committed on camera, whether that be roadside speed cameras or ‘citizen police’ uploading footage of alleged offences to websites such as Operation Snap.

Advertisement - Article continues below

In stark contrast, there was a decline in the number of penalties issued for many offences that would require the presence of a traffic police officer on the ground. The number of penalties for licence, insurance and record-keeping offences fell 8.1 per cent, penalties for HGV operator’s licence offences fell 15.4 per cent, penalties for vehicle condition offences fell by 6.4 per cent and penalties for obstruction and parking offences fell by 13.4 per cent.

The AA says that the rise of publicly submitted video footage with evidence of dangerous and poor road behaviours, means the chances of being caught in the act are rising.

“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,” says Jack Cousens, the organisation’s head of roads policy.

However, while the AA says cameras are a useful tool, it also warns of the dangers of over-reliance on such technology.

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

Want the latest car news in your inbox? Sign up to the free Auto Express email newsletter...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Labour to restore 2030 ICE ban, but fuel duty hike on the cards
Labour party logo
News

Labour to restore 2030 ICE ban, but fuel duty hike on the cards

The Labour Party’s manifesto promises support for the EV manufacturing industry and used electric car buyers, as well as an investigation into high in…
13 Jun 2024
EU threatens Chinese electric car tariffs of almost 50 per cent
XPeng G6 - front cornering
News

EU threatens Chinese electric car tariffs of almost 50 per cent

New tariffs would be imposed on top of pre-existing duties in an aim to override “unfair” subsidies by the Chinese government
12 Jun 2024
Labour to fix one million potholes per year under new ‘Plan for Drivers’
Pothole
News

Labour to fix one million potholes per year under new ‘Plan for Drivers’

Labour’s bid for the motorists’ vote includes funding for potholes, an investigation into unfair car insurance practices and a reform for road buildin…
12 Jun 2024
What are the Tories going to do for us? Pay-per-mile road tax ban in 2024 Conservative manifesto
London Roads
News

What are the Tories going to do for us? Pay-per-mile road tax ban in 2024 Conservative manifesto

Conservative Party election manifesto pledges to address multiple issues facing drivers, including rules surrounding tax and the standard of our roads
11 Jun 2024

Most Popular

Giant Panda electrified! New Fiat Grande Panda arrives with EV and hybrid power
Fiat Panda - front
News

Giant Panda electrified! New Fiat Grande Panda arrives with EV and hybrid power

Hybrid and electric versions will be available – the same as its sister cars, the Citroen C3/e-C3 and Vauxhall Frontera
14 Jun 2024
New Nissan Leaf is an SUV! 2025 model gets advanced tech and concept car looks
Nissan Leaf exclusive image
News

New Nissan Leaf is an SUV! 2025 model gets advanced tech and concept car looks

The next-generation Nissan Leaf will transform into an SUV inspired by the Chill-Out concept and our exclusive image previews how it could look
16 Jun 2024
Car Deal of the Day: spicy Volkswagen Polo GTI packs a lot of punch for £238 a month
Volkswagen Polo GTI cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: spicy Volkswagen Polo GTI packs a lot of punch for £238 a month

VW’s smallest hot hatch is an impressively grown up car that’s wrapped up in a compact body, and it’s our Car Deal of the Day for 14 June
14 Jun 2024