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The police forces that take bad drivers to court

Data also show crackdown on mobile phone use

'No parking' sign painted on the ground.

The best and worst places in England and Wales for motorists to be pulled over by the police are revealed in new government figures.

Ministry of Justice data showed how likely each police force was to take bad drivers to court or hand them on-the-spot fines.

It also revealed the probability of officers in different forces giving a ‘slap on the wrist’ – a written warning – to a motoring offender.

Fixed penalties

Sussex took the smallest proportion of drivers to court in 2006 – just one in five – and gave fixed penalty notices to nearly eight out of 10 (77%).

In contrast, West Midlands prosecuted nearly six out of 10 drivers it caught breaking the law – the highest proportion of any force in England and Wales.

The force fined just four out of 10.

Written warnings

Other forces taking less than 25% of motoring offenders to court were Warwickshire and Surrey, Thames Valley and Hertfordshire.

Areas of the country which took more than 45% of offending drivers to court were West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester Police, Norfolk, Lancashire and the Met.

Warwickshire handed out far more written warnings than most other forces, dealing with 5.6% of motoring offences in this way, and Northumbria also used the measure in 4.1% of cases.

England and Wales

Dyfed-Powys force dealt with 16.5% of offences with a Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme (VDRS) notice – a far higher proportion than any other force.

In comparison, Suffolk did not use written warnings or VDRS notices at all.

The national averages for England and Wales were: 61.9% of offences dealt with by on-the-spot fines, 35.2% taken to court, 2.1% issued with a VDRS notice and 0.8% handed a written warning.

Mobile phones

The new figures also showed the number of drivers dealt with by police for using a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel rose nearly a third to 168,500, up from 129,700 in 2005.

In 2006, 164,900 were fined for using a hand-held set, 2,700 were taken to court and 900 given a written warning.


Number of drivers fined in 2006 for using a hand-held mobile

The offence of using a phone at the wheel – introduced on December 1, 2003 – contributed to an ongoing rise in the number of careless driving offences, which has risen from 86,400 in 2003 to 233,600 in 2006, a 170% increase.

Drink driving

Drink-drive figures were up.

The number of motorists who gave a positive breath test, or refused to give a sample, rose 1% to 105,700 year-on-year.

The total was significantly higher than the year 2000, when it stood at less than 95,000.

The largest category was parking, obstruction and waiting offences, which amounted to 8.3 million. And there were 2 million speed limit offences, down 8% year-on-year.

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