Drivers with between five and 20 years experience, those aged between 25-60 years, and those with no children, are all more likely to break the rules when driving, according to a survey carried out by the Telegraph in conjunction with Aviva and YouGov.
In contrast, those who fall outside these age parameters, those who have been driving for fewer than five or more than 20 years, and those with offspring are less likely to be road rule breakers.
The Telegraph survey of 1,094 UK drivers suggests there is a degree of predictability about which drivers are more or less likely to break the rules.
One in five of those surveyed admitted breaking the law, especially if they think no one is looking.
Talking in the Telegraph article, Dr Samantha Jamson, a road safety researcher at the University of Leeds who worked on the survey, said the reasons for contravening traffic regulations are ‘many and varied’.
Dr Jamson said: “We all have our own reasons for doing so, which involve a complex interplay between our personality and the circumstances we’re faced with.”
The survey suggests that very new drivers tend to follow the rules more closely, as do the most experienced drivers, while others ‘break the rules as a matter of course, and do so intentionally’.
Dr Jamson says this may be down to confidence behind the wheel. “Those who have held their licence for a time may become complacent, not least because, thankfully, accidents are relatively rare. So motorists have less negative feedback on their driving unless rules are enforced and they are sanctioned when they disobey them,” she said.
“Such complacency may diminish as people get older and become more risk-averse, which could explain why a propensity for rule breaking appears to tail off after 20 years of driving.”
Despite perceptions to the contrary, the survey suggests the under-25s are not the most likely age group to exceed the speed limit on purpose. A higher proportion of people aged 25-34 years admitted to speeding at least occasionally.
Overall, 30% of those surveyed admitted to purposeful speeding, but interestingly that number rose for full-time workers and fell for part-time workers (23%) and the unemployed (21%).
Dr Jamson suggests a full-time worker may be more likely to break the rules because of their ‘overall confidence and self-esteem’.
The survey also hints at a correlation between having offspring and wanting to abide by the rules.
Dr Jamson said: “It may be the case that parenthood makes people more aware of the risks of driving. So, even unconsciously, parents may drive more carefully than people without kids, especially when they’ve got their children on board.”
In conclusion, the Telegraph says that while it is ‘complex to predict absolutely if a given driver will abide by the rules of the road, it can still be useful, as well as fascinating, to analyse potential patterns’.
Dr Jamson added: “The survey findings may help raise self-awareness, and that’s an important first step to improving road safety.”