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Drug driving and speeding cases hit record highs

Written by: Emma Lunn
Analysis of court data by the AA shows what the motoring organisation calls ‘a shocking return to the roads after the pandemic’.

Looking at both cases taken to crown court and the magistrates’ court, the AA found that drug driving, speeding offences, dangerous driving, and causing injury through dangerous driving, were all at record highs last year.

Drug driving was up by 54% compared to 2020 with 21,411 cases reported. Speeding cases rose to 208,496 compared to 167,596 the year before.

There were also 793 cases of causing serious injury through dangerous driving, 7,605 for dangerous driving, and 96,801 cases where drivers failed to supply information when required.

In addition, more than 32,500 drivers were in the dock for drinking and driving, but just 6,169 people were taken to court for using a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel.

New laws were introduced in March 2022 which made it illegal to use a handheld phone while driving. Drivers convicted of this offence face a £200 fine and six penalty points.

Having points on your driving license will mean paying more for car insurance. Research from Compare The Market earlier this year found that someone with a clean license typically pays £628 for insurance. But the average premium goes up to £689 if you have three points, £1,089 for six points, £1,2454 for nine points, and £1,794 for 11 points.

The AA found that a total of 638,044 motoring cases were taken to court last year with 565,440 people found guilty, showing that 85.5% of motoring-related court cases end with a conviction.

While some of the increases can be attributed to the suspension in court sitting days during the pandemic, the AA is worried that the standard of driving fell as people got behind the wheel again as restrictions eased.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “Our analysis shows a shocking return to the roads after the pandemic. 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 and chance it. We need to put more focus on this issue and eliminate it completely from our roads.

“We hope this is a short-term blight in the figures and that driving standards have improved when the 2022 statistics are announced.”

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