The drop in the number of motoring offences over the past ten years could be down to cuts in the number of specialist road police offices rather than better driving standards according to MPs.
Despite the total number of offences in the past decade halving from 4.3m in 2004 to 1.6m in 2013, the latest figures available, the Commons transport select committee pointed out that the number of convictions for “causing death” on the roads has remained “steady” from 303 to 311 over the same period.
The report, Road Traffic Law Enforcement, said this was significant as it “suggests that the reduction in overall offences does not represent a reduction in offences actually being committed”.
With specialist road police offices falling from 7,104 in 2005 to 4,356 in 2014, the report noted that ”as the number of traffic police has fallen, so too has the number of road traffic offences detected”.
Chair of the transport committee Louise Ellman said: "The fall in overall road offences does not reflect an improvement in driving. The Department for Transport says education, engineering and enforcement are key to road safety. One cannot exist without the other.”
She added: “If enforcement of road traffic laws is to be effective, the decline in specialist roads policing officers must be halted. Engineering and education have a role to play but there must be a real likelihood that offenders will be stopped and prosecuted."