Drivers see no point in increasing motoring offence penalties

12.00 | 8 September 2015 |

62% of drivers believe that there are insufficient police on the roads to enforce driving laws, according to the RAC Report on Motoring 2015.

The annual report, released today (8 Sept) and based on a detailed survey of more than 1,500 drivers, says that 79% of respondents feel there is no point in increasing penalties for driving offences until there is effective enforcement.

This comes as the report also reveals a 4% increase in the number of respondents who admitted to drug driving, with the total now standing at 6%.

Recent Ministry of Justice figures, published earlier in 2015, revealed that the number of traffic officers fell by 22.7% between 2010 and 2014.

The report also highlights the ‘sorry state of Britain’s local roads’, which was found to be the biggest concern of motorists (10%). 50% of the 1,555 motorists surveyed believe the condition of roads in their area has deteriorated in the past 12 months.

Of that 50%, the vast majority (99%) attribute this to potholes and general damage to the road surface, although litter is a source of annoyance for a quarter (24%), as is poor maintenance of verges for a fifth (21%).

Road conditions are a particular worry in Scotland and South West England, where one in five (19%) identified this as their top concern. The RAC says the latter is not surprising given that Devon has the most miles of roads of any county in England and one of the highest maintenance backlogs.

David Bizley, RAC chief engineer, said: “Motorists clearly want the government to provide sufficient funding to ensure local roads are maintained properly.

“While any central government money given to local authorities for roads must be spent on roads, we also need councils to spend more of their own funds on repairing and replacing road surfaces.

“Currently, this is a challenge as they are under specific legal obligation to provide minimum standards in education and social services whereas their obligations to maintain roads are far less prescriptive.

“It is therefore inevitable that expenditure is biased against investment in the likes of road maintenance where prescriptive legal obligations do not exist and councillors therefore do not face legal sanctions.”

The report shows that just under a fifth (18%) of motorists say they think or know they have driven while over the limit in the past 12 months, either shortly after drinking or the morning after, up 1% from the previous year.

Younger drivers are more likely to drink-drive: 26% of those aged between 17 and 24 think or know they have done so in the past year.

However, more than half (56%) of respondents believe the government should take more action to curb drink driving, including lowering the drink driving limit.

The report highlighted a correlation between drink driving and drug driving, with two thirds of those confessing to driving under the influence of drugs also admitting to drink driving.

Earlier in the year, the government amended the rules on drug driving, but 37% of those surveyed believe the new laws will not deter drug drivers.

There was also an increase in the number of respondents who think that using a mobile phone while driving is acceptable. 12% thought it reasonable to take a short phone call, up from 7% last year, while 17% believe it possesses little danger to use a mobile phone while in stationary traffic.

To access the full report, click here.


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