Half of drivers break traffic laws

Half of drivers break traffic laws

Nearly half of motorists flout traffic laws - some deliberately - a new survey reveals.

As many as 49% of drivers polled by road safety charity Brake admitted to breaking regulations. Half of them said this was down to lack of attention paid, while the other half said it was intentional as they do not agree with the rules or simply thought they could get away with it.

Indeed, the RAC claims the figures are perhaps none too surprising, given a vast reduction in visible police presence over the last five years.

Men are the biggest law breakers, with only 42% saying they never flout regulations. This figure was 60% for women. Men are also twice as likely as women to break the laws because they think they can get away with it.

Brake's Julie Townsend says the figures show that law breaking on the UK's roads is"endemic".

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "Inattention aside, it's perhaps no surprise that there has been a rise in people admitting to breaking the law while driving, as there has been a drastic reduction in full-time traffic police officers since 2010. In 2014, there were 23% fewer officers in England and Wales than in 2010, the equivalent of five fewer officers each week.

"So while cameras can be effective at catching people speeding and jumping red lights, law-abiding motorists believe that more visible police enforcement is urgently needed to deter illegal behaviour.

"For the vast majority of motorists, the lack of commitment from the main political parties to tackle road safety in the next parliament will also be a disappointment - not least because 2014 saw the first annual increase in child deaths and serious injuries on the roads in 20 years."

The survey of 1,000 motorists also shows that drivers rate the safety of their own driving higher than they did 10 years ago. As many as 69% believe they are safer than most other drivers - up from 50% in 2005.

In fact, they do not think much of the skills of fellow road-users at all, with 58% saying there are more dangerous drivers than safe ones.

Other findings from the poll by Brake reveal:

¥ Drivers aged between 17 and 24 are most likely to rate their driving as safer than others, with 58% saying they are "much" safer.

¥ The unsafe behaviour witnessed in the past year that most worries drivers is distraction, particularly from mobile phones, followed by tailgating, speeding and risky overtaking.

Copyright Press Association 2015