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29.1 million(1) uncaught drivers could be at risk of driving fines

Research finds 7 in 10 (70%) UK drivers admit to motoring offences for which they haven’t been caught

Published on 10th April 2023
  • The average fine could cost drivers around £191 for every convicted offence. This means more than £5.5 billion(2) could be cashed in by the UK government as a result.
  • For those not yet convicted, the most common offence was for speeding (51%). But this was also the top offence to be convicted for (71%).
  • More than half (51%) of UK drivers say they’ve been caught previously, but the punishments might not be harsh enough. That’s as around 1 in 3 (31%) have gone on to reoffend.
  • Survey data suggests that a motoring conviction can increase car insurance costs by £78, on average. But drivers in the east of England and across the Midlands could see prices exceed £90 and more, on average.

Around 29.1 million motorists could be at risk of getting a fine for a motoring offence they’ve previously committed but not been convicted for.

That’s according to new research by Confused.com, who found that 7 in 10 (70%) of UK drivers admit to commiting a motoring offence without being caught. But , not all drivers have been lucky, as around half (51%) have been charged for breaking the law in the past. And doing so meant that offenders pay around £191 in fines, on average. That means that the government could be cashing in more than £5.5 billion for driver’s mistakes.

For those who’ve gotten away without being caught by police, the most common motoring offence was for speeding (51%). But data also showed that speeding was the top offence for those who’ve been convicted (72%).

Other common offences for unconvicted drivers included:

  • Driving through a red light (21%)
  • Using a mobile phone/device (19%)
  • Parking illegally (18%)
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (12%)

And according to the survey data, the top 5 motoring offences for drivers who’ve been convicted were:

Motoring offence Percentage of drivers (%)
Speed limit offence
Using a mobile phone/other interactive device
Traffic signal offence
Illegal/unauthorised parking(3)
Moving traffic offence

For those who were caught breaking the law, more than half (53%) were fined. Others had points on their licence (38%), had to attend a driver course and/or speed awareness course (38%) or had a fixed penalty notice (23%). In more serious cases, around 1 in 10 (11%) drivers were banned from driving as a result of their offence.

But it seems that the penalties don’t necessarily stop drivers from breaking the law again. That’s as 1 in 3 (31%) of convicted drivers admit to reoffending.

And as survey data reveals that the average cost of a fine reaches almost £200 each time, the financial impacts could add up. Especially if drivers are willing to risk and reoffend. But not every fine costs the same. In fact, some fines, given for offences such as speeding or careless driving, could set drivers back thousands of pounds. And that’s just the start of the financial blows.

The research gathered by Confused.com reveals how drivers also saw their car insurance costs increase by £78, on average, following a motoring conviction. Around 1 in 5 (18%) also said that their no-claims discount (NCD) was affected. Drivers most likely to not have any NCD were those who were charged with driving under the influence of drugs (91%) and driving while disqualified (87%).

Younger drivers (aged 18-24) were most likely to see the highest increase in the cost of their car insurance as a result of their conviction. That’s as the average cost grew by £117 at renewal. As a result, more than half of young drivers (57%) said they were put off committing a motoring offence in future. And more than 2 in 5 (45%) said their cheapest car insurance deal after conviction included a telematics black box. So it may not come as a surprise that young drivers are put off offending again due to the financial implications some of them have faced.

When looking specifically at regions, drivers in the east of England saw the highest increase to their car insurance costs as a result of a motoring conviction. Drivers saw increases of around £96, on average. Drivers in the West Midlands and East Midlands saw similar figures, with average increases of £94 and £91, respectively. But convicted drivers in Wales saw less increases than most, with insurance rising by £50, on average.

Despite some expensive policy price rises, 1 in 5 (20%) drivers say that the punishments for motoring offences should be harsher. And that could be an option for police forces and government in future, as more than 3 in 5 (63%) drivers surveyed said they weren’t put off committing offences again after being convicted.

Louise Thomas, Confused.com car insurance expert comments: “Our latest research shows how many drivers are taking risks when behind the wheel. If caught, drivers could face penalties such as a fine or in serious cases, imprisonment.

“The financial implications can also be huge. The average cost of a fine being around £191, although this could be higher, depending on the offence. The cost of car insurance can also increase, with some drivers reporting rises of almost £100, on average. So the true ‘cost’ of a motoring offence should really be considered when everything is put into perspective.

“Most importantly, ignoring driving laws can have serious consequences and put other road users at risk. Our data shows that there is some debate whether the current punishments should be harsher to deter drivers from offending. If you’re unsure on signage or the current driving laws, the Highway Code is always up to date and can give drivers a clear indication of what they should and shouldn’t do when behind the wheel.”


Notes to editors

Media information:
Confused.com press office:


About Confused.com

Launched in 2002, Confused.com was the UK's first digital marketplace for car insurance and is one of the leading brands in the sector, generating over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the years to include home insurance, van insurance, motorcycle insurance, and car finance comparison, as well as a number of tools designed to save consumers money.

Confused.com is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides an objective and unbiased service. By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more. Confused.com’s service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators.

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