Common driving offences
Friday, 28 April 2017
Common driving offences
Policy Key Facts
- Speeding: From 2011-15 (GB), around a quarter of road deaths and 15% of KSIs (killed or seriously injured) occurred in collisions where the police believed that 'exceeding the speed limit' or 'travelling too fast for conditions' was a contributory factor. In 2015, 84% cars exceeded the speed limit on 20 mph roads (47% by 5 mph or more), while 52% of cars exceeded the speed limit on 30 mph roads, even though 89% of people believe that drivers should obey limits.
- Drink/Drug driving: In 2014 (GB), 14% of all road fatalities (240 people) happened in incidents where a driver was over the limit. In December 2014, Scotland cut its drink-drive limit to 50mg alcohol per 100ml blood, bringing it in line with most EU countries except for England, Wales and Malta where the limit is still 80mg/100ml. In 2015 (GB), the police thought that a driver/rider being ‘impaired by drugs (illicit or medicinal)’ was a contributory factor in incidents in which 67 people were killed, and 350 seriously injured.
- Mobiles/other distractions: In 2015 (GB), the police thought: that mobile phone use at the wheel contributed to collisions in which 22 people died and 99 were seriously injured; and that ‘distraction in vehicle’ contributed to collisions in which 66 people died and 504 were seriously injured. Drivers are four times more likely to crash when using a mobile phone. Over two thirds of the population feel that the law on using a mobile phone whilst driving is not properly enforced.
- Entitlement: The Motor Insurers’ Bureau settles around 25,000 claims a year made by innocent victims of uninsured/untraced drivers, including c.120 fatal cases. The risk of crash involvement for un-licenced drivers could range between 2.7 to 8.9 times greater than that for all drivers.
Cycling UK View
Exceeding the speed limit
- Speeding fines are currently too low to have any significant impact on driver behaviour.
- Extreme speed (e.g. 20 mph+ over the limit) should be treated as dangerous driving in the first instance.
- There should be no margin over the speed limit at which a driver avoids penalty.
- When determining the severity of any speeding offence and the penalties for it, the presence (or likely presence) of vulnerable road users should be considered as aggravating factors.
- The drink-drive blood alcohol limit should be lowered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 80mg/100ml to not more than 50mg/100ml, in line with most European countries and Scotland. Novice drivers should not be allowed to drink at all before driving.
- We support the use of targeted checkpoints, but also believe that the police should be given more freedom to carry out random breath testing.
- Alcohol interlocks should be fitted in offenders’ vehicles. If successful, the measure should be extended.
- The definitions and standards for drug-related driving offences should relate solely to whether a drug impairs the ability to drive; it should not relate to whether it is legal to use it - i.e. over-the-counter and prescription drugs should be included.
Mobile phones and other in-car distractions
- Use of hands-free mobile phones whilst driving should be banned.
- More research needs to be done on the impact of other in-car distractions (e.g. SatNavs, radios, in-car computers etc.). Drivers who put others in danger because they have been distracted by such devices need to be appropriately penalised.
Driving without entitlement
- Any driver convicted of a bad driving offence whilst unlicensed or disqualified, and those who persistently break driving bans or go on driving despite not being entitled to do so for some reason, should receive a custodial sentence for the crime.