There are now more than 38 million motorists in Great Britain. The RAC’s annual report on Motoring was published this week and surveyed 1,714 UK motorists. Trainee Solicitor, Charlotte Hunt, looks at the facts and figures which indicate that the number of motorists committing motoring offences is on the rise.
The RAC Report states that whilst the number of offences is rising, the number of police on the roads in England and Wales has fallen between 2010 and 2015 from 5,338 to 3,901. This has resulted in 27% of the drivers surveyed agreeing with the statement: “I don’t think I am very likely to get caught if I break most motoring laws”.
So, what other key trends does the RAC’s annual report identify?
- More motorists are admitting to having broken speed limits over the last five years.
- Within urban 20 mph zones, there has been an increase in speeding from 38% in 2011 to 46%
- Country roads have seen a higher increase in speeding from 38% in 2011 to 48%.
- Motorists who admit to using their mobile phones whilst driving over the past 12 months has increased.
- The idea that it is acceptable to use your phone while stuck in traffic or queuing at a set of traffic lights has gained currency with a fifth of people agreeing with the statement “it is safe to text or check social media on your phone when stationary”.
- 1 in 7 drivers say they have even used their phones to take pictures and record videos whilst at the wheel.
A common misconception is that if you are stopped at traffic lights or in queuing traffic the rules regarding the use of a handheld device do not apply; HOWEVER even checking the time on your phone or moving it is technically an offence as the phone is being held whilst driving. You can use hands free phones when driving but if the police think you are distracted and not in control of your vehicle you could still get stopped and penalised.
If you are caught using your phone while driving you could be faced with an automatic fixed penalty notice, 3 penalty points and a £100 fine. You could also be taken to court where the maximum fine is £1,000 and face losing your licence. For professional drivers of buses or goods vehicles you could get a maximum fine of £2,500.
We deal with road traffic offences on a regular basis and the question is “how important is your driving licence?” Our clients normally say the answer is very. Hopefully the report will change driving habits but if you should need legal advice and guidance or if you are alleged to have committed a motoring offence, speak to our skilled traffic lawyers who can assist you with all road traffic offences and advise you through this difficult and stressful time. Please feel free to contact our team by telephone in Milton Keynes on 01908 212150 who will be happy to help you.