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British Motorists Still Texting At The Wheel

By raccars Published

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A new report by the RAC shows that most UK drivers believe they can get away with texting at the wheel. The same report revealed a shocking lack of faith in driving law enforcement in general.

Apparently, British drivers see so many others using a mobile phone behind the wheel that they have come to the conclusion that they are unlikely to be prosecuted for doing the same. Forty two per cent of survey respondents don't believe they will be caught texting while driving, and 16% believe they won't be challenged even if they were caught.

Fifty one per cent of those questioned did not expect to be penalised for texting while stationary in traffic and almost 60% claimed to not even realise that texting in a vehicle with the engine running, even if it is stationary, is illegal. The use of hand held mobile phones in a vehicle was made illegal in 2003.

Over half of the participants of the study reported noticing other drivers texting while in traffic in up to half of their journeys, and almost a third see others texting in traffic on most journeys. However, only one out of every fourteen motorists admits to texting while stationary in traffic, apart from the 17-24 age group, of whom 15% admit to the behaviour.

Twenty per cent of drivers claimed not to know that checking Facebook, Twitter or other websites while driving is illegal and more than 25% believed it was safe to use a mobile phone to text or use social media while stationary in traffic. Three quarters of motorists often notice other drivers having a conversation on a handheld mobile phone, even though less than 10% of drivers admit to doing so.

The survey results are particularly disturbing after the recent news that texting while driving is more distracting than making a phonecall on a handheld mobile or even drink driving. Texting or making a handheld phonecall while driving is subject to a £100 fine and three penalty points added to your licence. The government is considering increasing penalties for the offences if they continue.

Nearly half of motorists are concerned about the widespread abuse of traffic laws, such as mobile phone use, tailgating, undertaking and aggressive driving, and believe enforcement in this area is weak. A subject of frustration was the strict enforcement of speeding violations or traffic light offences, which requires very little actual policing, thanks to automatic cameras.

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