Road traffic offences
Note: Due to comparability issues, it is not possible to compare data with years prior to 2013-14.
The introduction of the new crime grouping structure sees a change of name for the previous Motor vehicle offences group to Road traffic offences. Beyond this, the only other change was the transfer into this group of some offences relating to the (mis)use of bicycles, from the previous Miscellaneous offences group. This change has been back-revised within the statistics to maintain time series analysis. The impact is however minor, with these offences accounting for just 0.1% of all Road traffic offences in 2021-22.
Road traffic offences accounted for 62% of all offences recorded in Scotland in 2021-22. Between 2020-21 and 2021-22, the number of Road traffic offences recorded by the police decreased by 4% from 116,197 to 111,987. Over the longer term, there was a decrease of 62% since 2013-14.
Due to a number of anomalies in the data as a result of inconsistencies with legacy data reporting, Road traffic offences recorded by the police are only comparable from 2013-14 onwards. Further information on the comparability issues can be found in Annex 2.
The national rate of recorded Road traffic offences decreased from 213 per 10,000 population in 2020-21 to 205 per 10,000 population in 2021-22.
The Road traffic offences group includes the following categories:
- Road Traffic Offences
- Dangerous & careless driving
- Driving under the influence
- Unlawful use of motor vehicle
- Vehicle defect offences
- Seat belt offences
- Mobile phone offences
- Other road traffic offences
In 2021-22, of all Road traffic offences:
- Unlawful use of motor vehicle accounted for a third (33%)
- Speeding accounted for a fifth (20%)
- Other road traffic offences also accounted for a fifth (20%)
- Dangerous & careless driving accounted for 12%
- Driving under the influence accounted for 7%
- Vehicle defect offences accounted for 5%
- Seat belt offences accounted for 2%
- Mobile phone offences accounted for 1%
The following section discusses the three largest categories (Unlawful use of motor vehicle, Speeding and Other road traffic offences) in more detail.
For further information on the other Road traffic offences categories please refer to the 'Supporting documents' Excel workbook for this bulletin. This includes data on the number of offences recorded in each category (Table 2) and rates per 10,000 population (Table 4). The workbook includes an ‘Introduction’ sheet, with information on how to navigate the tables, alongside a ‘Notes’ sheet, with relevant details to assist users when reading and interpreting results.
Unlawful use of motor vehicle
The Unlawful use of motor vehicle category includes offences such as Driving while disqualified, Driving without a licence, Driving without insurance and Driving without a test certificate. Further detail can be found in the User Guide.
Unlawful use of motor vehicle is the largest category in this group, accounting for 33% of all Road traffic offences. This category decreased by 14% between 2020-21 and 2021-22, from 43,309 to 37,238.
Speeding accounted for a fifth (20%) of all Road traffic offences. This category decreased by 2%, from 22,963 in 2020-21 to 22,472 in 2021-22. There was a decrease of 73% since 2013-14.
These figures do not include any offences recorded as a result of the Scottish Safety Camera Programme. These are excluded as no police resources are used in the recording of an offence by this programme and the National Statistics on Recorded Crime focuses solely on crimes and offences faced by the police and not by other organisations.
Other road traffic offences
Other road traffic offences accounted for a fifth (20%) of all Road traffic offences. This category includes a range of offences, such as Accident offences (accounting for 68% of the category), Driver's neglect of traffic directions (not pedestrian crossing) (13%) and Motor vehicle other offences (8%).
This category increased by 12%, from 19,957 in 2020-21 to 22,355 in 2021-22. There was an overall decrease of 47% since 2013-14.
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