Phone-driving perception misplaced
24 June 2011
Author: Hugh Hunston
Expectations among UK motorists about witnessing other drivers using hand-held mobile phones while driving are nearly 22 times higher than the reality, according to AA surveys.
The AA's second Streetwatch report found that only one in 435 of motorists, or 0.23% were actually observed using their phones on the move against an earlier poll, which resulted in 83% of the organisation's members anticipating a 5% illegal phone use factor.
Perception also exceeded expectation when drivers were asked to judge if cars were going too fast at junctions near their homes. AA members believed that more than 20% were speeding against the accurately monitored figure of 10%.
When it came to seat belt wearing those polled were more accurate in their judgement with 36% predicting nearly 5% would not be restrained and a further 34% anticipating a lower wearing rate.
Company van drivers featured prominently among the unbelted drivers along with taxi drivers and Edmond King, the AA's president, said "they are potentially more at risk due to their higher mileages and not wearing seat belts contributing to 30% of road deaths."
IAM's director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said that simple forgetfulness rather than blatant law breaking was the major problem on UK roads. Failure to indicate far outweighed wilful speeding, phone use or not wearing a belt."
Drivers in north east England registered the highest speeding frequency on 21% with Yorkshire and Humberside counterparts ranked lowest at 7.6% while the West Midlands road users registered the top (7.4%) unbelted factor narrowly edging out London.
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