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Two thirds admit breaking traffic laws

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Overconfidence and complacency is leading to widespread illegal risk-taking on roads, warns Brake, the road safety charity, and Direct Line. Brake and Direct Line's research shows while almost all drivers (99%) believe they are comparatively safe, two thirds (69%) admit putting others at risk by breaking traffic laws.

Brake and Direct Line are launching an appeal to drivers' better nature, urging them to sign Brake's Pledge to help prevent the devastating crashes that often result from risky law-breaking at the wheel.

Brake and Direct Line's survey of 1,000 drivers across the UK has found:

  • Nearly all drivers (99%) think they are at least as safe as the average driver. More than two thirds (69%) admit breaking traffic laws. A third (35%) say they break laws because they believe they can handle it, while another third (33%) admit it's down to not paying attention.
  • Only a small minority (1%) say they know they're taking risks, but do it anyway. 

Every day, five people are killed and 63 are seriously injured on UK roads , causing appalling suffering to families and communities. The vast majority of crashes involve drivers' risk-taking , and could be easily prevented by drivers committing to following basic safe driving principles, such as staying well within speed limits, slowing right down for bends, brows, bad weather and in built-up areas, never using a phone at the wheel, and never driving on drink or drugs.

Brake is urging all drivers to help prevent needless and devastating crashes and casualties by making the Pledge - a personal commitment to stay safe and legal.

Brake is also calling on government to ensure there is a strong deterrent against law-breaking, and that drivers who repeatedly flout the law are taken off the road. Brake calls for greater priority and funding for specialist roads policing - a proven deterrent to risk-driving - and action to tighten up our penalty points system so drivers who tot up 12 points or more can't escape a ban by pleading ‘exceptional hardship'.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, said: "It is deeply concerning so many drivers break vital traffic laws, yet still believe they are safe. Anyone who thinks they can handle speeding, using a phone at the wheel or drink-driving is fooling themselves and taking an appalling chance with people's lives. The evidence is clear: if you break traffic laws you risk causing terrible harm to yourself and others. The first step to being a truly safe driver is to recognise that protecting people is your number one priority when you get behind the wheel - far more important than getting there a bit faster, or answering a call. Traffic laws exist to protect people from death and injury, and staying within them is a fundamental responsibility for everyone who drives. We are calling on drivers to make Brake's Pledge to always drive safely and legally, to help reduce the number of people needlessly killed and hurt on our roads."

Rob Miles, head of Motor at Direct Line, said: "Drivers continue to flout the rules of the road without realising the devastating impact their actions can have. Traffic laws are there for a reason and breaking them puts other road users and pedestrians' lives at risk. The biggest reason for road collisions is excessive speed, so rather than trying to beat the traffic and getting to your destination a couple of minutes earlier, we're urging motorists to slow down and have more consideration for other road users so that everyone arrives at their destination safely."

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