Lack of traffic police means careless drivers go unpunished says poll
Reliance on cameras rather than traffic officers leads motorists to feel middle lane hogs and tailgaters are getting away scot-free
Two thirds of drivers feel a reliance on cameras and a lack of traffic officers mean certain driving offences go unpunished, a new study has found.
When asked which offences drivers felt other motorists could get away with, 65 per cent of the 19,500 people who took part in the research said those guilty of careless driving (which includes tailgating and middle lane hogging) were unlikely to be caught and punished.
A further 55 per cent said motorists could get away with driving a car in an unroadworthy condition, while 54 per cent felt it was possible to use a hand-held mobile phone behind the wheel with impunity.
The study, commissioned by the AA, also found that 65 per cent of motorists felt there was no visible police presence on their local roads, while a further 43 per cent said there was no visible presence on motorways.
Those impressions are backed up by official statistics, too: figures unearthed last year by the Press Association found the number of traffic officers in the UK had fallen by a third over 10 years, from 3,766 in 2007 to 2,643 in 2017.
And it seems more bobbies on the traffic beat is the only solution to the lawlessness those responding to the survey feel exists on our roads: only 45 per cent said they wanted Highways England traffic officers to receive greater powers, while a mere 32 per cent felt ceding power to community support officers was the answer.
Commenting on the study, AA president Edmund King said: “It is worrying that drivers feel that a lack of police officers on the roads means they think they can get away with careless driving and other serious motoring offences… Big Brother can only do so much; we need more cops in cars.”
Addressing the fall in traffic officer numbers, King said: “With a significant drop in specialist traffic officers, it may prove to be difficult to ensure the safety of everyone on our roads.”
Motoring offences most likely to go unpunished
Not likely to be caught and punished (% ranking 1-4 on scale of 10)
Careless driving (tailgating and middle lane hogging)
Driving a vehicle in a dangerous or defective condition
Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving
Not wearing a seatbelt
Not stopping at a red traffic light
Driving without insurance
Driving in a bus lane
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