More than three quarters of people believe drivers who cause death or serious injury should receive an automatic driving ban, a new poll published to coincide with the start of Road Safety Week suggests.
In the Cycling UK poll, carried out by YouGov, 77% of respondents support an automatic ban for those convicted of causing serious injury – rising to 83% for drivers responsible for a fatality.
83% of respondents said those who cause serious injury should be re-tested before they can return to the road, rising to 86% when a fatality is caused.
Driving bans are supposed to be imposed automatically for the offence of causing death by dangerous driving.
However, Ministry of Justice figures from 2017 show that 28 drivers convicted of causing death by careless driving were not directly disqualified – while 61 convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving escaped a direct ban.
‘Careful and competent’ drivers
The poll also asked whether participants considered themselves a ‘careful and competent driver’ – the standard for which careless and dangerous driving is legally considered to fall below.
While 91% of respondents classified themselves as ‘careful and competent’, 52% of these said they have driven over a 20mph speed limit and 57% over the 30mph limit. 58% also admitted to driving through an amber light turning to red.
In terms of drink-driving, 94% of drivers who describe themselves as competent said they had never driven under the influence of alcohol – while 84% said they never use a handheld mobile phone while driving.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: “It’s clear the public believe that drivers who have presented the most danger to others should be removed from our roads, but they’re less clear about what amounts to risky behaviour.
“Whilst 91% of respondents with a full driving license thought they were ‘competent and careful’ drivers, over half of them admitted to speeding on roads with 30mph limits and 20mph limits – the latter usually being imposed around schools, hospitals and where our children walk and play.
“If so many people are unable to recognise that speeding in such areas presents risks, and that they’re not driving carefully and competently when doing so, it’s no surprise that our laws around careless and dangerous driving are in such a mess.
“We need to review our road traffic laws so there’s a clearer objective standard for the driving we expect on our roads, otherwise what’s judged to be careless or dangerous driving will remain a lottery.”
Organised annually in November by Brake, Road Safety Week provides an opportunity for communities to take action on road safety – and a focal point for professionals to boost road safety awareness and engagement.
Using the theme ‘Bike Smart’, Road Safety Week 2018 is seeking to raise awareness about the importance of protecting those on two wheels.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, said: “Our road laws must do all they can to protect us from unsafe drivers, but flaws in the current framework limit this ability.
“A review of road traffic offences and penalties is needed to regain the public’s trust and to ensure that just and fair outcomes are consistently delivered.”