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UK motoring crime blackspots revealed

South East England revealed as the UK's driving offence capital with half a million motoring violations recorded between 2015 and 2016

Posted on 24 Feb 2017

South-East England is the UK capital for speeding, seatbelt offences and defective tyres (1).
While North-West England motorists are the worst for drink-driving and drug-driving, with almost 13,000 of these motor offences in total.
West Midlands drivers are the most prolific for petrol theft.
Interactive Motoring Crime Map reveals the UK’s 2.4 million driving crimes by region between 2015 and 2016.


The UK’s motoring crime blackspots have been revealed with drivers in the South-East of England coming out on top as the worst offenders. One in five (21%) of 2.4 million motoring crimes recorded in the UK between 2015 and 2016 were in the South-East, with the region racking up over 500,000 offences, making it the UK’s driving offence capital (1).

To highlight the research, no.1 site for car savings Confused.com has launched an interactive motoring map of the UK, which shows the number of offences recorded in each region between 2015 and 2016.

The map, compiled of Freedom of Information data1 obtained by Confused.com, shows South-East drivers to be the worst offenders for a number of motoring-related crimes, including seatbelt offences and driving with defective tyres. However, speeding accounted for 94% of the region’s driving crimes, with a whopping 470,000 speeding offences recorded by police. 

And, while they may not be as speedy as motorists in the South-East, drivers in the North-West and East Anglia accelerated into second and third place with 288,000 and 275,000 speeding offences respectively.

Worst regions for motoring offences between 2015-2016

Offence Region  No. of offences 
 Defective tyres  South-East  2,359
 Drink-driving  North-West  12,344
 Drug-driving  North-West  629
 Petrol theft   West Midlands  6,701
 Seatbelt offences  South-East   14,175
 Speeding  South-East  476,467

North-West drivers also seem to be persistent motoring offenders, committing over 300,000 crimes. Driving under the influence appears to be most prevalent in this region, with almost 13,000 drink and drug-driving crimes on record. London follows closely behind on both fronts, with around 12,300 drink-driving offences and 600 drug-driving violations. And although they aren’t quite as boozy as their neighbours in the North-West, some drivers in Scotland do tend to give in to a tipple before driving, with almost 9,600 drink driving offences.

A tendency for driving while intoxicated isn’t the only thing many motorists in the North-West and London have in common. Both are prolific when it comes to committing seatbelt offences, with around 7,700 and 7,400 violations recorded in London and in the North-West. But South-East drivers come out on top – yet again – having committed almost twice as many seatbelt crimes, with 14,200 incidents in total.

When it comes to pinching petrol, West Midlands drivers appear to be the most shameless. Police in this region recorded 6,700 incidents of motorists driving off from fuel stations without paying, followed by 4,900 violations in Yorkshire & Humber and 4,600 in the South-East.

And while the South-East is also top of the ranks for driving with defective tyres, with a hair-raising 2,400 crimes committed by drivers, East Anglia is not far behind with 1,800 bald tyre offences recorded in the region.

Worst regions for motoring offences between 2015-2016, by rank

Offence Rank Region 
 Speeding

1st

2nd

3rd

South-East

North-West

East Anglia

 Drink-driving

1st

2nd

3rd

North-West

London

Scotland

 Drug-driving

1st

2nd

3rd

North-West

London

South-East

 Petrol theft

1st

2nd

3rd

West Midlands

Yorkshire & Humber

South-East

 Seatbelt offences

1st

2nd

3rd

South-East

London

North-West

 Defective tyres

1st

2nd

3rd

South-East

East Anglia

Scotland

Some regions are more law-abiding than others and do not top the ‘worst’ rankings, but they still rank highly in certain areas. Wales seem to be in the habit of driving without wearing seatbelts, with 5,700 offences recorded by police. And even though driving crime in Northern Ireland appears to be relatively low, the region still accounts for 67,000 motoring crimes.

However, according to further research by the motor savings expert, it’s not only the motor crime rate that varies from region to region. In fact, there are a number of traits and perceptions which seem to differ between drivers from different parts of the UK.

With relatively low levels of driving crime in Northern Ireland, it may be unsurprising that they are the happiest drivers on the road, with one in seven (71%) describing their overall driving experience as positive or very positive. This is compared to just one in six (61%) of drivers in the South-East, where motoring offences are rife, who would describe their driving experience in the same way. Those on the road in Northern Ireland are also the most likely motorists to describe their most recent driving experience as happy (39%), with over half (52%) admitting that they love or enjoy driving. Some Northern Ireland drivers would even go as far as to perceive driving as therapeutic, with a quarter (24%) saying it clears their head.

For Londoners, it seems that driving is something of an ego boost, with almost one in 10 (7%) saying that they enjoy showing off their car. And while London motorists were responsible for just 126,000 speeding offences – less than eight of the UK regions – Londoners are more likely to say they enjoy the speed of driving (16%). Even though drivers in the North-West are guilty of a large swathe of the UK’s motoring offences, they tend to appreciate the practicality of driving more than those in other regions, with over half (54%) liking the fact that it gets them from A to B. 

Yet it’s not plain-sailing for all motorists. Despite Yorkshire & Humber sitting in the bottom ranks for driving offences, they are more likely than motorists in other parts of the UK to have had bad experiences of driving. In fact, one in 10 (10%) describe their time on the road as negative or very negative overall. But it’s drivers in the East of England and North-East who appear to loathe being behind the wheel the most, with over one in 10 (14%) saying they hate or dislike driving. Yet despite their pessimism, East England drivers appear to be the calmest on the road, with over three quarters (76%) either rarely or never getting riled up by road rage.

It seems that there are parts of driving which are disliked by some regions more than others also. East Midlands motorists are most likely to be irked by getting stuck in traffic, with seven in 10 (69%) describing it as one of their biggest driver bug bears. A further two-fifths (43%) in this region most dislike driving in areas they are unfamiliar with. And motorists in the North-East are most likely (63%) to be bothered by ‘other drivers’.

But when it comes to forking out for petrol, it’s drivers in Wales and Yorkshire & Humber who seem to get their backs up the most. Almost two out of five (37%) of drivers in these regions say it’s one of the elements they least enjoy about driving. So it may then be unsurprising that 1,300 incidents of people pinching petrol were recorded in Wales, while 4,900 were recorded in Yorkshire & Humber.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “The Confused.com Motoring Crime Map reveals some shockingly high figures for motoring crimes in certain parts of the UK. Given the sheer scale of offences, it’s safe to say that the South-East has earned its title as the UK’s motoring offence capital.

“Perhaps some drivers don’t realise the severity of these crimes. They have potential to add points to your licence and could also see offenders hit with thousands of pounds in fines, plus an increase to their insurance premiums. Before drivers commit motoring crimes, they need to consider that in doing so they could be adding to their ever-increasing motoring costs. Drivers should visit Confused.com to find out how they can avoid breaching the law and save money on all things car-related.”


-Ends- 

Notes to editors
Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll on behalf of Confused.com. This was an online poll of 2,400 UK adults who drive (nationally representative sample) and 200 respondents in each region. The research was conducted between 20th January 2017 and 8th February 2017.

1. Confused.com submitted Freedom of Information requests relating to petrol theft (submitted May 2016), drink-driving (submitted October 2016), drug driving (submitted March 2016), driving with defective tyres (submitted December 2016), middle-lane hogging (submitted August 2016), seatbelt offences (2015 data) and speeding (submitted March 2016) to the UK’s 45 constabularies. The information from each police force has been grouped into 12 regions.

For more information on the Freedom of Information data used within Confused.com’s Motoring Crime Map, visit https://www.confused.com/on-the-road/driving-law/uk-motor-crime-map or contact the PR team.


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Confused.com is No.1 for car savings – based on opportunities to save on car related products. See confused.com/no1 for more information. Launched in 2002, Confused.com was the UK's first price comparison site for car insurance and is one of the UK’s biggest and most popular price comparison services, generating over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the last couple of years to include small van insurance, motorcycle insurance, car buying and selling, and car finance, as well as a number of tools designed to save drivers money on motoring.

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