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Half of drivers admit flouting traffic laws

The survey carried out by Brake with Direct Line also found that half of drivers who admit to breaking traffic laws (25% of all drivers) say they do so through inattention, while the other half (23% of all drivers) admit doing so deliberately, because they think they can get away with it or do not agree with the laws.

Brake says this makes it clear that more needs to be done both to enforce traffic laws, and to persuade drivers to buy in to the importance of complying with them.

Other key findings from the report include:

UK drivers are more confident in the safety of their own driving than they were 10 years ago, with more than two thirds (69%) rating themselves as safer than most other drivers, up from half (50%) in 2005. Drivers judge each other more harshly than themselves, with the majority (58%) saying there are more dangerous drivers than safe drivers on UK roads.

Young drivers (17-24) are most likely to rate their driving as safer than others, with three in five (58%) saying they are “much” safer. Given young drivers are proportionately involved in more crashes than older drivers [4], this suggests overconfidence is putting them at risk. Young drivers are more likely to rate the majority of other drivers as dangerous and to feel endangered by them, suggesting they may be more aware of bad habits that become habitual for experienced drivers.

When asked what unsafe driving behaviours they witnessed most, distraction (such as from mobile phones) (71%), tailgating (71%), speeding (67%) and risking overtaking (66%) topped the list of UK drivers’ concerns.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “As these figures make clear, law breaking on our roads is not just down to a minority but endemic.

“Whoever takes power after 7 May needs to make traffic policing a national policing priority, to ensure there is a strong deterrent against risky law-breaking on roads. We also need to see road safety given greater political priority, to set casualties falling once more and deliver safer streets for communities everywhere. That means reintroducing road casualty reduction targets, and working harder to win the ideological battle, to ensure everyone who gets behind the wheel understands why the rules exist and accepts their responsibility to abide by them and keep people safe.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.