customers may have been put at risk by the switch to automated road policing systems, such as speed cameras, road safety reports have suggested.
Studies commissioned by the Department for Transport suggest that over the last decade, which has seen many police patrols replaced with speed cameras, convictions for careless driving have dropped.
In 1997, some 2.6 million motorists were given penalties for speeding, rising to 4.9 million in 2007. However, over the same period prosecutions for careless driving fell by over 100,000.
"It is encouraging to see in the report a fall in deaths of 16 per cent year on year among young car occupants," said Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety.
However, he noted that although fewer 17- to 25-year-olds are involved in fatal accidents, drinking and driving still accounts for 17 per cent of all road deaths.
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