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Lack of driver awareness over Dart Charge costing fleets dearly, finds Lex

The firm’s annual figures on fines and penalties show that in total, company drivers committed 53,231 more offences in 2015 than in 2014, bringing the overall figure to 198,186. This is an increase of more than a third (37%) and is considerably higher than previous year on year increases (3% from 2012-3, and 17% from 2013-4).

The Dart Charge accounted for more than 17% of the total offences during 2015, with almost 35,000 drivers falling foul of the new payment system, resulting in a total bill of £474,497 in the charge’s first year. 

In total, fines and penalties bill for businesses last year came in at £11.1m, up 17% since 2014.

The findings, compiled from 317,000 company vehicles, show that almost half of the penalties came from drivers committing minor traffic offences, such as stopping in a box junction, with £4.2m worth of fines being issued to almost 25,000 drivers. 

Company drivers also accrued £5.6m in fines for parking (£4.4m) and bus lane infringements (£1.1m) in 2015, up 39% and 58% respectively since 2012.

The figures also reveal the frequency of more serious endorsable offences, such as driving dangerously, speeding or driving whilst using a mobile phone. As a proportion of the total number of fines incurred, such offences accounted for just 22% in 2015; however, the year on year increase of 9% to a total of 43,636 instances of endorsable offences points to the ongoing need for businesses to invest in driver education.

Guy Mason, head of fleet operations at Lex Autolease, said: “While businesses do undertake driver education programmes, such as Drivetech, the fact remains that more than 43,000 company car drivers committed motoring offences which are typically more serious in nature.

“This calls into question the safety of employees and other road users, as well as raising concerns about the possibility of drivers receiving penalty points on their license or even a driving ban – hindering their ability to do their job.”

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Written by 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.

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