GEM Motoring Assist has labelled the UK as a nation ‘guilty of double standards’ when it comes to the driving offences we commit and the penalties we expect.
The claim comes on the back of a new survey of more than 3,000 of the road safety charity’s members which showed that 11.4% are prepared to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
The survey, which appears in the summer 2016 edition of Good Motoring, also shows that 63% admit to snacking behind the wheel.
GEM says that not only do thousands own up to breaking the law, they also admit to becoming dangerously distracted while driving.
The survey reveals that 41.8% tolerate more distractions at the wheel than they did 10 years ago while 16% of respondents accepted a level of driver distraction because it has so far not been a problem for them.
However, the results also show a public determination to clamp down on law-breaking drivers with a ‘staggering’ 75.8% of motorists wanting to see more traffic police working to stop offenders.
66.4% of respondents want courts to show a tougher, more consistent line in their sentencing of ‘totters’ – drivers who accumulate 12 or more penalty points.
In the week in which it was revealed that the number of full-time roads policing officers in England and Wales has fallen by almost a third, GEM has stated its belief that a greater road policing presence provides an effective deterrent for drivers who would otherwise be prepared to take risks.
David Williams MBE, GEM chief executive, said: “The survey reveals the double standards at the heart of motoring in this country, and the enormous challenge the authorities face to promote behaviour change.
“On one hand, we are demanding tougher action against law-breaking motorists, but on the other hand millions of us are quite happy to admit to bad driving.
“In recent decades we have made considerable progress in persuading people not to drink and drive. Achieving a nationwide commitment to reducing driver distractions is a huge challenge, especially when you consider that 16% of our respondents accept a level of driver distraction because it has so far not been a problem for them.
“As one of our respondents commented, manufacturers increasingly afford drivers the opportunity to communicate from their vehicles. The temptation to take advantage of this is too high for most normal people and punishing them is not going to provide the solution.”