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Attitudes to Road Safety Measures

The Department for Transport has recently given an insight into the attitude of members of the public towards transport-related issues in Britain, as revealed in the British Social Attitudes Survey 2016.

The survey covered issues such as willingness to change current travel behaviours, attitudes to the environment and transport, congestion, and also views on road safety.

Mobile Phone Use While Driving

One aspect of road safety covered by the survey was the use of mobile phones while driving. The survey found that whilst 50% agree that all use of mobile phones while driving, including hands-free phones, is dangerous, only 40% agree that all such use of mobile phones should be banned.
Support for banning mobile phones while at the wheel has apparently remained around ten percentage points below those agreeing that hands-free phones are dangerous for the past ten years. There has also been constant support for the idea that there is not sufficient enforcement of the relevant law. In 2016, 71% agreed or strongly agreed that “The law on using mobile phones whilst driving is not properly enforced”. This proportion has remained consistent since 2007.

Attitudes to Drink Driving and Speed Cameras

The survey also covered drink driving, and found that around 80% of respondents agreed with the statement “If someone has drunk any alcohol they should not drive”. Agreement has remained at this high level for the last decade. A similar proportion of adults also agreed that “Most people don’t know how much alcohol they can drink before being over the legal drink drive limit”. 
A third element of road safety covered by the survey was the use of speed cameras on the roads. The survey found that agreement with the statement “speed cameras save lives” rose from a low of 42% in 2005 to 56% in 2016, whilst disagreement fell from 31% to a low of 19% over the same time.
Nearly half of respondents apparently think that speed cameras are mostly there to make money. A third said that there are too many speed cameras, but agreement with this has decreased to 32%, the lowest point in the last decade.

Police Targeting Mobile Phone Use

Motoring organisation RAC issued a statement in response to the figures, particularly in relation to the revelation that 71% of drivers feel that the law on using a handheld mobile phone is not enforced properly.
“The law is clear, and the penalties for disobeying it are now stronger for very good reason – a pinging, buzzing smartphone represents one of the biggest modern day distractions in a moving vehicle,” commented RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams. “Government and industry must not let up in their efforts to explain the risks of dangerous mobile phone use to UK motorists.”
“Drivers have consistently stated that the law on handheld mobile phone use at the wheel has not been effectively enforced and they do not believe there are enough traffic officers on our roads,” he said. “In fact the number of dedicated roads policing officers has declined by almost a third in ten years so we now have just 2,643 in England and Wales. However, with the doubling of the fine and points from 1st March catching offenders using a handheld phone whilst driving has become a priority for many police forces.”
“Drivers should be aware that police are now targeting handheld mobile phone use and deploying a range of tactics to catch offenders in the act from motorcycle cops to double-decker snipers,” he added.

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Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.


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