The number of drivers convicted for defective vehicle parts offences has increased to its highest level since 2014.
The findings are based on analysis of data from the Ministry of Justice and have been released by breakdown provider Green Flag. They show that in 2022, a total of 12,349 motorists were convicted for defective vehicle parts in England and Wales. This equates to an 18% rise against figures from 2021, and a 56% rise from the 7,928 convictions in 2020.
Defective vehicle parts offences are a group of motoring crimes that includes defective breaks, steering, gears and tyres. They also cover using a vehicle in a dangerous condition or breaching legal exhaust emission limits. Of these, defective tyres are the most common offence with 9,608 drivers being convicted in 2022.
Driver convictions for defective vehicle parts have increased by 255% year-on-year in Durham, the largest rise of any UK region. Convictions also increased by 113% in Leicestershire and 109% in Northamptonshire when compared to 2021.
Gwent has seen the biggest drop in convictions for defective vehicle parts of any region, down 55% from the previous year. Green Flag’s analysis also shows 89% of motorists convicted of defective vehicle part offences in 2022 were men and 69% were under the age of 40.
Reasoning behind defective vehicle parts
The increase in drivers being convicted of running with defective car parts may not be a coincidence. Many surveys in recent months have highlighted that drivers are putting off essential maintenance, running their tyres to the legal limit, or beyond, and looking towards cheaper car parts.
Green Flag highlights findings by the ABI, stating that the cost of vehicle repairs rose by 33% year on year to £1.5 billion in the first quarter of 2023, the highest figure since 2013. Motorists have also seen servicing costs rise by as much as 90% last year, adding further to the issue of defective vehicle parts.
But the need to ensure a vehicle is roadworthy must be a priority to ensure road safety. If drivers do not comply, and end up driving with defective car parts, they may receive three penalty points on their driving licences and a fine.
The average fine for those convicted of these offences in 2022 was £270 – down slightly from £301 in 2021. However, the largest penalty for defective vehicle part offences in 2022 was up to £5,000 – three motorists received a penalty around this size last year.
“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,” commented Katie Lomas, Managing Director of Green Flag.
“Ensuring a car’s brakes, tyres and steering are well maintained is not only an essential part of keeping a car roadworthy, but it also ensures the safety of the driver, passengers and other vehicles on the road. 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.”
Driving convictions for defective vehicle parts
|Police Force Area||2021||2022||Change (per cent)|
|Avon and Somerset||182||263||45%|
|Devon and Cornwall||235||282||20%|