Aug 232018
 

Driving LawsIt’s been over a year since the new laws for speeding and mobile phone use behind the wheel were introduced, but have they really made a difference?

Leading car warranty provider, Warranty Direct has analysed Department of Justice data from over the past five years, to reveal what impact the new laws have had on the driving behaviours of the general public.

While it might seem extreme that driving laws are becoming increasingly stricter, research has shown how important it is for laws to be in place to prevent reckless driving.

Road safety site, Think, found you’re 4 times more likely to be in a crash if you’re using a mobile phone while driving, and also 4 times more likely to crash while travelling at 40mph than 30mph.

With alarming statistics on the rise, March 2017, saw higher fines issued to people caught using their mobile phone behind the wheel. Punishments were doubled from three points to six points on your licence and a fine of £200 up from £100.

Laws against speeding were also updated on 24 April 2017. Fines increased from a minimum of £100 to up to 150% of a person’s weekly wage. You could also expect to receive up to 6 points on your licence, depending on how much over the speed limit you are caught driving.

To find out how successful these new laws have been at reducing dangerous activity behind the wheel, Warranty Direct compared the number of fines issued before and after the updates were introduced.

The tables below show the number of fines issued from May to December 2017, compared with the number of fines issued in the same period in previous years.

Date range Quantity of fines for speeding
May- Dec 2013 75428
May- Dec 2014 101823
May- Dec 2015 111067
May- Dec 2016 110863
May- Dec 2017 101654

The number of speeding fines issued annually between 2013-2015 increased up to 68%. Although there was a slight reduction in 2016, after the new fines were introduced, not only did the number of fines continue to decrease but they dropped by 8.5%.

2017 data recorded the lowest number of fines for 4 years, and if this drop continues next year, the number issued for speeding will drop below 100,000 for the first time since 2013 (to 93,000).

Date range Quantity of fines for mobile usage
Mar- Dec 2013 14974
Mar- Dec 2014 14970
Mar- Dec 2015 14027
Mar- Dec 2016 11052
Mar- Dec 2017 6175

Fines for using a mobile phone while driving decreased even more dramatically. The number issued dropped 44% in 2017 compared with the same period in 2016, and by 59% compared to 5 years prior in 2013.

It’s clear from this steep decline, drivers have taken note of the updated punishments for breaking the latest driving laws and being more cautious on the roads.

Simon Ackers, CEO of Warranty Direct commented on the findings:

“It’s great to see these updated driving laws have had a significant, positive impact on driving behaviours, in such a short space of time.

“I don’t believe it’s just the increased financial penalties influencing people’s driving behaviour either, as motoring authorities have increased their efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of unsafe driving.

“We fully support any new measures which make our roads safer for both drivers and pedestrians. I believe more motorists are truly beginning to understand the consequences of speeding and using their mobile phones at the wheel.

Nov 212016
 

A new survey conducted by Warranty Direct has revealed a worrying lack of awareness when it comes to knowledge on UK driving laws. Areas of particular weakness include understanding road safety, general vehicle rules and interpretation of The Highway Code.

A report from the Department of Transport, recently revealed there were 195,576 reported driving accidents, resulting in 78,683 casualties in 2014. Despite the general public showing concern over such data, it seems the country still has a long way to go when it comes to improving their knowledge of the road.

Awareness regarding motorway driving in particular produced some troubling results. A quarter of respondents thought it was legal to both overtake and undertake on the motorway, and nearly a third think you’re allowed to pull over and sleep on the hard shoulder if you can’t find a rest stop! These are clearly extremely dangerous practices to take part in.

50% of drivers thought it was fine to  flash your lights to warn fellow drivers of a speed trap, in spite of a well-publicised case in 2011 of a man being fined £440 for doing so and in turn being accused of ‘obstructing the police’.

Staying with the topic of speed, many drivers could do with revising their mph to km/h figures, especially if they have a km/h speedo in their current car. According to 32% of respondents the national single carriageway speed limit in the UK is 112km/h or 70mph, when it is in fact 60mph, which means over a third of drivers may be breaking the speed limit, without even realising it!

Other laws drivers showed a high lack of awareness of, including:

(*percentage is number of correct answers):

  • It is illegal to drive barefoot (47%)
  • It is illegal to use your horn whilst stationary (38%)
  • You can be charged with drink driving if you’re asleep in your (stationary) car (32%)
  • Accelerating through a puddle can get you three points on your licence (31%)
  • You are not obliged to wear a seatbelt whilst reversing (8%)

When presented with a selection of ‘real’ and ‘fake’ driving laws just four out of the 10 genuine driving laws were spotted by more than 50% of respondents, and a high proportion of the public were also fooled into believing that a number of false laws were true.

These included having to notify the DVLA if you change your name, but not your gender (45%) and thinking you have to be able to read a post-2001 licence plate from 10 metres away (47%), when it’s actually 20 metres.

Commenting on the results of the Warranty Direct survey, Chief Operating Officer, Philip Ward said: “Our latest survey reveals there is a strong need for UK drivers to brush up on their knowledge of driving laws. The results suggest many mistakes made could be down to not knowing the appropriate laws, which can be easily rectified. We recommend any unsure drivers to re-read a copy of the Highway Code to avoid causing any dangerous situations when out on the road. ”