The results of a new AA study suggest that more than half of UK drivers (54%) feel they can get away with using a hand-held mobile phone while driving – due to a lack of police presence.
The study of more than 19,500 drivers also found that 36% believe they were ‘not likely to be caught or punished’ for drink driving or speeding – while 43% suggested they could get away with drug driving.
The highest percentage of respondents – 65% – felt they can get away with ‘careless driving’, including tailgating and lane hogging.
Other results include: driving a vehicle in a dangerous or defective condition (55%),
not wearing a seatbelt (49%), not stopping at a red traffic light (44%), driving without insurance (42%) and driving in a bus lane (33%).
Drivers were also asked about their perception of police visibility on roads in their area. 65% felt there was no visible presence on local roads, compared to 43% on motorways.
When asked about alternative ways to enforce the rules of the road, 71% said that cameras alone cannot police the roads.
There was some support for allowing other parties to assist the police in traffic enforcement, with 45% of respondents saying Highways England traffic officers could be given more powers.
A FoI request carried out by the Press Association last year found the number of traffic officers had fallen by a third in 10 years – from 3,766 in 2007 to 2,643 in 2017.
Edmund King, AA president, said: “It is worrying that drivers feel that a lack of police officers on the roads, means they think they can get away with careless driving and other serious motoring offences.
“The AA and the Government are keen to stamp out using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving, but more than half feel it can be done with little chance of punishment.
“Limited support for allowing third parties to carry out roads enforcement shows that drivers want more police on the streets to catch and prosecute drivers breaking the law.
“What is clear is that camera enforcement is seen as an actual deterrent, but Big Brother can only do so much; we need more cops in cars.
“With a significant drop in specialist traffic officers, it may prove to be difficult to ensure safety to everyone on our roads.”