A new report from RoadPeace highlights what the campaign group calls ‘the increasing human costs of austerity’.
RoadPeace says the report, published yesterday (11 May), shows that ‘disproportionate cuts in traffic police numbers’ have led to a ‘decrease in the prosecution of the more serious driving offences, and a rise in vulnerable road users killed and seriously injured’.
The report explains the impact of changes in the way traffic law is enforced, bringing together data relating to court prosecutions, fixed penalty notices and diversionary courses such as the National Speed Awareness Course.
The analysis shows that between 2010-15, there was a halt to the long term decline in the number of collisions where people were killed or seriously injured (KSI). Across the same period, the number of vulnerable road user KSIs increased in England and Wales (outside London).
While the number of fatal collisions fell by just 5%, prosecutions of causing death by driving offences fell by 23% and convictions by 29%. ‘Fail to stop’ prosecutions fell by 32%, despite an increase in hit and run casualty collisions, while drink/drug driving prosecutions fell by 16%. The report says there is no evidence that increasing compliance by drivers could explain the decline in prosecutions
The report says that in the period 2010-15 speeding offences comprised more than 74% of all driving offences, while the proportion of motoring sanctions identified using cameras rose from an estimated 45% to nearly 70%.
RoadPeace says that with so many speeding drivers being spared penalty points through NDORS, the deterrent effect is ‘feared reduced’.
The report also highlights a 28% decline in the number of traffic police over the same period, which RoadPeace describes as ‘disproportionate’.
Baroness Jones, RoadPeace patron, said: “The last six years have seen a turnaround in the numbers of vulnerable road users being seriously injured in England and Wales, but not in London where we were able to invest in roads policing.
“Following years of steady decline across all road users, we have seen a rise in death and serious injuries among pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists – those who have benefited least from advances in crash protection technology.
Amy Aeron-Thomas, RoadPeace advocacy and justice manager, said: “It should not be so hard to find out what the police are doing to keep us safe on the roads – especially while the government is trying to get us out of our cars and onto our feet and bikes.
“The desired and needed increase in vulnerable road users should come with an increase in traffic law enforcement, not less.”