UK drivers think distraction caused by mobile phones is getting worse
Is driver behaviour on UK roads becoming more risky? A new survey commissioned by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has found that motorists think aggressive driving and mobile phone use behind the wheel are getting worse.
The survey of 2,000 drivers showed that 86% believe distraction caused by mobile phones has become worse in the last three years. Nearly three quarters (72%) also said that aggressive driving has worsened over the last three years, and more than 60% reported the same for drug-driving.
Meanwhile, 81% said that congestion has become worse, reflecting the increasing number of vehicles on the roads.
Looking in more detail at the responses, 94% considered other drivers checking or updating social media to be a threat to their personal safety, while 93% said that was the case for drivers text messaging or e-mailing, and for 91% it was the case for drivers talking on mobile phones.
This was higher than the perceived threat from drink and drug driving, IAM RoadSmart noted. Some 89% of those surveyed felt that people driving after drinking alcohol was a threat to their safety, and 88% felt the same about those who took illegal drugs and then drove.
Commenting on the findings, IAM RoadSmart chief executive Sarah Sillars said: "The worries and concerns of Britain's 32 million drivers should be listened to. Whilst we can all take more responsibility for our actions it is clear that distraction and congestion are the two biggest bug bears for drivers today.
"New road building and smart motorways will help with congestion but our survey has shown that UK motorists have real concerns about the way mobile phone technology could be a threat to their safety
More than 90% say checking social media, texting and talking on mobile phones whilst driving scares them -- these are figures that cannot be ignored.
"It is important that Government, road safety bodies and car makers work together to allay the fear caused by distracted drivers. Recent tragic high profile cases underline the need for a combination of education, safe design and enforcement to make sure that the high-tech benefits of our modern cars do not prove a threat to safety of all road users."
The AA recently launched a yearlong road safety campaign to try to change attitudes and behaviours around driver distraction, especially mobile phone use.
Edmund King, AA president and director of the AA Trust, said: "The hike in fatalities on built-up roads by more than a third is staggering and may be due to driver inattention from excessive use of mobile phones at the wheel."