FROM poor signalling and speeding to talking on mobile phones and not wearing seatbelts, the full extent of British drivers’ sloppy habits is laid bare in a new survey.
The Automobile Association claimed its research, highlighting poor driving at junctions and roundabouts, was the biggest street survey of motorists’ behaviour in the UK.
One in three drivers were observed failing to indicate, one in ten were seen going too fast and nearly one in 20 were spotted not wearing a seatbelt.
Motorists in Scotland were found to be second worst for speeding, after those in the West Midlands, at nearly one in eight.
However, not belting up was below average north of the Border, at 4.2 per cent.
Across the UK, faulty brake lights were spotted among 3.6 per cent of motorists, while just 0.23 per cent were seen illegally using handheld phones.
The findings were compiled by 400 volunteers who observed 40,000 vehicles in the AA’s Streetwatch survey in April and May. A separate poll of 11,500 AA members showed they expected bad driving to be far more widespread, estimating that one in five motorists drove too fast and one in 20 held a phone at the wheel.
The research came as road safety charity Brake today attempts to set a new world record “walking bus” of some 125,000 pupils walking together to schools across the UK.
The move is to urge drivers to slow to 20mph in built-up areas, which is backed by fuel chain Jet.
AA president Edmund King said: “AA Streetwatch observations show that 5 per cent of drivers are still not wearing seatbelts despite this contributing to 30 per cent of road deaths.”
Philip Gomm, a spokesman for the Royal Automobile Club Foundation, said: “Some drivers are getting too comfortable in their modern cars. Shut away in their own quiet, air-conditioned worlds, there is perhaps a minority of motorists who feel immune to the hazards and dangers beyond the windscreen – and oblivious also to the problems they might cause to others by their own careless behaviour.
“Bad behaviour amongst a minority of drivers could be caused by the frustration associated with so many modern journeys: traffic jams, roadworks, delays, diversions. Some people will always be tempted to gain an advantage at the expense of others’ safety and convenience.”
Neil Greig, policy and research director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), said: “These findings underline the need for a better basic driving test, combined with more encouragement for post-test training that addresses the human errors that cause most deaths and injuries on our roads.”
However, David Legge, east of Scotland co-ordinator of the Association of British Drivers, said drivers were tempted to break the law because of the excessive number of road regulations and the low chance of getting caught due to cameras taking the place of police patrols.