Convictions for illegal wheels rise
By Simon Hacker | 14th August 2023
Ministry of Justice (MoJ) data has revealed 12,349 motorists clocked up offences for getting behind the wheel with dodgy tyres, bad brakes and other faulty components on their cars.
The annual data for 2022 collated incidents across England and Wales and was obtained by Green Flag breakdown service, part of the insurance giant Direct Line.
Disturbingly, it revealed that cases in Gloucestershire rose 104%, with 72 cases recorded in 2021 climbing to 147 for 2022.
Green Flag said the rise in cases of motorists driving with defective vehicle parts could be linked to higher component prices and the cost-of-living crisis, resulting in more drivers skipping regular maintenance.
The 12,349 licence holders booked by police signalled an 18 per cent increase from the 10,478 convictions recorded in 2022, with further offences including driving with defective steering and exhaust emissions that breach legal limits.
Badly worn and faulty tyres topped the list of issues spotted by police, with 9,608 drivers caught for the fault.
Amid the regional trends on the issue, Durham registered a 255% increase in convictions, but closer to home, Gwent showed the best improvement with auto-neglect crime down 53% on 2021.
Alongside this data, recent findings by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show that the cost of vehicle repairs rose by 33% year on year to £1.5 billion in the first quarter of 2023, making this the highest figure since 2013.
Some motorists, said the ABI, have seen servicing costs go up by 90% in 2022.
Katie Lomas, MD of Green Flag said: "Drivers may not realise they have inadequate parts in their vehicles, or that they could face conviction, but the data shows that it is still a prevalent issue and one for drivers to be aware of.
"Motorists should regularly check these car parts and if they have any doubts, stop driving and have their car seen to by a professional mechanic."
MoJ data also shows that the average fine for those convicted of worn or defective parts in 2022 was £270 - down slightly from £301 in 2021.
The MoJ adds, however, that the largest penalty for defective vehicle part offences in 2022 was up to £5,000, with three motorists receiving such a penalty in 2022.
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