Penalty notices are being given to drivers at the rate of one every 2.5 seconds, a new report reveals.

There are 12 million of the penalties handed out each year, meaning that up to 30% of Britain’s drivers get one annually.

In a study for motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, Dr Adam Snow, a criminology lecturer at Liverpool Hope University, found that each year British drivers are given:

:: Eight million local authority parking penalties

:: 2.5 million local authority bus lane and box junction penalties

:: Half a million late licensing and insurance penalties

:: One million speeding and red-light penalties

Dr Snow said cuts to police budgets had been “perhaps the main driver” of the reliance on cameras to catch drivers out.

However, his report also warned that increasing use of cameras to do this could lead to the fear among drivers that there is no use of discretion or common sense.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “To maintain its legitimacy, automatic enforcement must be viewed by the public as proportionate.

“While wrongdoing should be punished and not excused, a decline in front-line policing risks an imbalanced approach to enforcement.

“Millions of motorists are being caught by camera, often for arguably minor misdemeanours, whilst more serious and harmful behaviour goes undetected.”

Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: “Income raised through on-street parking charges and fines is spent on running parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling the £12bn roads repair backlog and creating new parking spaces.”