It has been five months since the crackdown on mobile phone use and speeding. But how much of an effect has the government clampdown had on driving behaviour in Britain? Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, reports.
According to a recent poll, there appears to have been some impact on how motorists behave behind the wheel, but perhaps not as much as anticipated. 17,600 motorists recently took part in the study, anonymously coming clean about several offences. These included Snapchatting and speeding over the permitted limit. But results show that the number of committed offences has fallen overall. 86% of drivers claim they’ve sped over the authorised limit, regardless of the increase in fines on April 24. However, this is an 8% decrease, as 94% admitted to doing so beforehand.
According to information crunched from the research, the fresh law on mobile phone use at the wheel has had the largest influence on motoring behaviour. Preceding March 1, when the new law was ushered in, 54% of drivers said they use their smartphone whilst on the move. Since the clampdown, that figure has dropped to 37% – meaning a 17% decrease.
The anonymous confessions cross-examination was initially launched in September 2016. 8,000 drivers took part and divulged some stunning results, confirming that action needed to be taken. On June 1 2017, the quiz was re-launched to find out if driver behaviour has altered since the government clean-up on March 1 and April 24. An extra 9,600 motorists took part, resulting in a total of 17,600 unidentified replies. Before changes to the laws about mobile phone use, 94% of drivers admitted to speeding over the permitted limit and 54% confessed to using their phones. Astonishingly, 28% of motorists even said they have used Snapchat when driving and 11% of drivers had snapped a selfie. On April 24, the government increased speeding fines up to 150% of one’s weekly wage in an effort to tighten up on speeders in the UK.
Since the law kicked in, 9,600 drivers were evaluated incognito and 86% confessed to breaking the law and going quicker than the legal speed limit. Despite such many wrongdoings being committed, the crackdown has, in fact, lead to an 8% decrease in speeders in Great Britain, compared with the previous data-set.
The complete list of confessions since the crackdown:
|Have You Since 24/04/2017:||N||Y|
|Exceeded the legal speed limit?||14%||86%|
|Shouted at, sworn at or insulted another driver?||18%||82%|
|Undertaken another vehicle on the motorway or dual carriageway?||30%||70%|
|Driven through a red light?||35%||65%|
|Changed lanes without indicating?||37%||63%|
|Used your phone whilst driving, without using a hands-free device?||63%||37%|
|Thrown rubbish out of your vehicles’ window while on the road?||67%||33%|
|Wolf-whistled or cat-called from a vehicle?||69%||31%|
|Had a drink and driven, without knowing if you were over the legal limit?||69%||31%|
|Used Snapchat or another social network while driving?||71%||29%|
|Purposefully driven through a puddle to splash pedestrians?||73%||27%|
|Driven without wearing a seatbelt?||74%||26%|
|Accidentally hit, clipped or scratched another person’s vehicle, and then driven away?||81%||19%|
|Parked across double yellow lines||83%||17%|
|Recorded yourself or others using a smartphone whilst driving?||83%||17%|
|Taken drugs and driven?||89%||11%|
|Taken a selfie whilst driving?||92%||8%|
37% of motorists also admitted secretly to using their phones while driving. Then again, this is a 17% fall in the number of offences committed before the clampdown started. But the results demonstrate that Snapchat use is on the increase. Preceding the government initiative, 28% of drivers said they use Snapchat whilst motoring. Since March 1, we have in fact seen a 1% increase, with 25-34-year-olds claiming to be the most prolific offenders. 52% of 25-34-year-olds who took part in the survey freely admitted to Snapchatting whilst motoring and 12% have taken a selfie, too.
Ashley Peters, of vehicle insurer, Staveley Head – the firm behind the research, said: “The anonymous confessions data has been gathered solely to raise awareness. We are glad to see the government crackdown has had an impact on driving behaviour and would hope to see further improvements over time. The data proves that bringing in a new law had a positive impact on driving behaviour, which is great news.”