Motorists increasingly concerned about distracted drivers on UK roads

Motorists increasingly concerned about distracted drivers on UK roads
A growing number of motorists are becoming increasingly concerned over distracted drivers on UK roads.

More than 86% of UK motorists think distraction caused by mobile phones has become worse in the past three years.

Of the 2,000 UK drivers surveyed, nearly three-quarters believed aggressive driving (72%) had worsened over the three-year period, with more than 60% reporting the same for drug-driving.

Congestion was also a main concern, with 81% of people saying they are worried by the rise in the number of cars on the roads.

RELATED CONTENT: Police crackdown on mobile phone use behind the wheel

The figures come from the Safety Culture Survey commissioned by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart. The survey, produced for the first time last year, looks at UK motorists’ safety attitudes and behaviour.

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The survey asked about the potential problems faced by motorists now compared to three years ago, as well as perceived threats to personal safety while driving and support for potential new regulations.

Huge numbers of UK drivers believe the dangers of mobile phones and technology are bigger threats than any other factor on the roads.

Some 94% recognised drivers checking or updating social media as a threat to their personal safety, while 93% said that was the case for drivers who were text messaging or e-mailing. Meanwhile 91% said that drivers talking on mobile phones were a safety threat.

There is also huge approval for stricter measures to prevent and reduce drivers using mobile technology in cars.

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Some 97% of those surveyed strongly supported a law outlawing reading, typing, or sending a text message or email while driving; 86% strongly supported the regulation of in-car technology to minimise the distraction to drivers, and 67% strongly supported a law prohibiting the use of any type of mobile phone while driving, hand-held or hands-free.

Earlier this month the Government announced that drivers caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel will no longer be able to take a course to avoid getting points on their licence under tough new laws.

The crackdown on motorists caught using phones while driving will also introduce tougher fines and points penalties. Points will go from three to six and the fine from £100 to £200.

Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart chief executive officer, said the worries and concerns of Britain’s 32 million drivers should be listened to. 

She said: “It is important that Government, road safety bodies and car makers work together to allay the fear caused by distracted drivers. Recent tragic high profile cases underline the need for a combination of education, safe design and enforcement to make sure that the high-tech benefits of our modern cars do not prove a threat to safety of all road users.”

The RAC have welcomed the news that drivers will face harsher consequences for their actions behind the wheel.

Road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “We welcome stiffer penalties for handheld mobile phone use and believe this will send a very strong message to motorists.

"However, we believe this has to be done in conjunction with a heavyweight road safety campaign so we therefore welcome initial proposals for a new THINK! initiative."

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.