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Slowdown in company car driver fines indicates better driving behaviour

Work by fleets to improve driver behaviour is starting to pay off, with a fall in the value of motoring fines and penalties and a slower rate of increase in the volume of fines.

The value of fines in 2019 stood at £17.1m; down 0.6% on the figure of £17.2m the year before

Latest research by Lex Autolease from more than 361,000 company cars and vans finds that the value of fines in 2019 stood at £17.1m; down 0.6% on the figure of £17.2m the year before when including penalties for Mersey Flow and Dartford Crossing charges into the data set. This bucks the trend of yearly increases from £10.7m in 2016.

While the volume of motoring fines and penalties did increase in 2019 – from 267,058 to 275,558 – the 3% rise showed a slower rate of growth and compares to a 60% cumulative increase over the last three years.

Providing further encouraging signs of driver behavioural change, the percentage of drivers caught by bus lane cameras fell for the first time, down 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.

But further work is needed. 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.

Kim Morris, motor operations director at Lex Autolease, said: “Fleet managers have placed a great emphasis upon driver health and safety in recent years and it’s encouraging to see evidence that this 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, 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 added: “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.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.