Fleet driver fines up 15% in 2013 to £8m
However, the data, which is compiled from Lex Autolease’s fleet of 275,000 vehicles, shows that despite this rise in fines, the total number of offences committed has only increased incrementally by 2.7% to 124,430 offences in the last year.
The increase in the value of fines reflects the spike in bus lane infringements and congestion charge penalties, which typically incur higher fines. The number of company drivers caught using bus lanes rose from 11,732 in 2012 to 14,698 last year, a leap of more than 25%.
The firm adds that the statistic raises further questions about whether poor driving standards or greater scrutiny from local authorities is to blame for the growing number of motorists caught using bus lanes.
Guy Mason, head of fleet operations at Lex Autolease, said: ‘The rise in the number of company drivers caught in a bus lane could suggest that many are using them as a shortcut to complete their journeys as quickly as possible. If this is the case then businesses need to discourage drivers from behaving in an irresponsible fashion.
‘However, many company drivers believe they have been penalised unfairly due to inadequate or misleading signage and increased surveillance by local authorities capturing those that briefly strayed into a bus lane. These factors, rather than a disregard for the rules, may explain the 25% spike in bus lane infringements last year.
Despite the increase in fines and driving infringements, general traffic-related offences such as entering a box junction or stopping in a red route, fell by 17%, from 20,582 in 2012 to 17,080 in 2013.
The figures also revealed that endorsable offences such as speeding, dangerous driving and driving whilst on a mobile phone, which are typically more serious offences and carry penalty points, increased by just 2% to 34,495 fines in 2013 from 33,930 in 2012.
The study also showed that a large number of company drivers were caught out by Transport for London’s decision to reduce its Congestion Charge exemption threshold to vehicles emitting less than 75g/km. The change resulted in a 21% increase in the number of drivers penalised for non-payment of the charge compared to the previous year, from 9,150 fines in 2012 to 11,102 fines in 2013.