Half of UK drivers have admitted breaking traffic laws, according to new research by road safety charity Brake.
25% of all drivers surveyed said they break driving laws by not paying attention. Worryingly, 23% said that they deliberately ignore traffic laws because they don’t agree with them or think they can get away with breaking the law.
There is an obvious concern, therefore, that some drivers think they are above the law. No matter what a driver’s opinion is about traffic laws, they are there for a reason. Drivers who break traffic laws, whether deliberately or not, are putting themselves and others at risk of serious injury.
Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend has described law breaking on UK roads as “endemic” and said the research represents “a failure by government to ensure traffic policing is receiving adequate priority and to make clear the importance and legitimacy of traffic laws."
More certainly needs to be done to deter drivers from breaking the law and to educate them about the importance of adhering to our road traffic laws. There was a 4% rise in fatal collisions in the year prior to September 2014, following many years of reductions. This rise followed a five-year decline in police budgets with some forces seeing as much as a 40% reduction in the number of road traffic police.
The Police Federation has said that its members are extremely frustrated by the rise in fatal road accidents. Although they welcome technological developments such as smart motorways, the Federation want more police officers in marked cars to be present on our roads to act as a deterrent to drivers who might break the law.
The findings of the Brake report should put traffic law enforcement high on the to-do list of the UK Government. As Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend said, “Traffic policing needs to be a national policing priority, to ensure there is a strong deterrent against risky law-breaking on roads.”
It’s clear that more must be done to ensure that all drivers understand why traffic laws exist and accept that it’s their responsibility to abide by them and keep themselves and other road users safe.
You can read the full Brake report, entitled A Risky Business, here.
Richard Allbeson is a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK specialising in road traffic accident claims.
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