Fleet News

Fines and penalties increase for business drivers

The volume of motoring fines and penalties incurred by company car and van drivers increased by 3% in 2019, new figures from Lex Autolease show.

This compares to a 60% year-on-year cumulative increase over the past three years, suggesting a slower rate of increase than in previous years.

This was also reflected in the value of fines incurred by drivers, which did not grow for the first-time last year, bucking the trend of yearly increases from £10.7 million in 2016 to £17.1m 2019.

The percentage of drivers caught by bus lane cameras fell for the first time by 17% year-on-year, with fines issued for congestion charges and council parking also falling by 6% and 4% respectively.

Mersey Flow and Dartford Crossing fines also saw a year-on-year decrease with the total number of penalty notices issued falling by more than two fifths (44%) from 54,618 in 2018 to 30,391 in 2019.

However, the picture is not entirely positive, says the country’s largest vehicle leasing company.

The percentage of motorists penalised in private car parks rose by 6% year-on-year to £6.2m, and illegal junction-box stops and red-route driving fines increased by almost a fifth (19%) to £6.3m during the same period.

Lex Autolease analysed data from more than 361,000 company cars and vans to identify trends in behaviour and driver safety. 

Kim Morris, motor operations director at Lex Autolease, said: “Company car drivers are often more likely to incur fines and penalties on the roads when compared to ordinary motorists, as the pressure to hit deadlines and attend meetings on time can sometimes lead to poor driver behaviour.

“The majority of fines can be easily avoided and if not closely monitored can quickly add up to expensive outgoings for employers – especially those with larger fleets.” 

She believes that the emphasis fleet managers have placed upon driver health and safety in recent years is starting to pay off, with a considerable slowing in the rise of the number of fines incurred and a decrease in the number of fines for commonplace offences, including bus lane driving and congestion charges. 

However, she said: “Our analysis shows that there’s still more businesses can do to educate their employees to bring these numbers down further.

“Continuing to invest further in driver education can help to modify employees’ driving habits and in turn save businesses unnecessary outgoings each month.”

She concluded: “As the new tax changes for alternatively-fuelled vehicles gather momentum, driver education will become even more important for fleets to make sure avoidable fines and penalties do not offset the cost saving benefits of low or zero emission vehicles.”

Click here for driver training best practice and procurement insight

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