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Motorists welcome new careless driving powers

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Motorists will welcome news of new powers for police to tackle bad driving, research suggests.

In a survey of 800 motorists, BCA found that ‘selfish driving’ is the thing motorists hate most about other drivers, with 70% citing this as one of their top three frustrations. 57% of those polled were concerned about other motorists using a mobile phone while driving, while over a third (34%) said motorists’ texting while driving was a major frustration.

The new laws announced yesterday (June 5) will give police the power to issue £100 fixed penalty fines and three points for offences such as tailgating or middle-lane hogging that used to go to court. 

Fixed penalties for using a mobile phone while driving or not wearing a seatbelt will also rise by £40 to £100.

The road safety charity Brake welcomed on-the-spot fixed penalty notices for ‘careless driving' offences, but called for higher fines to deter risky law-breaking.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said: "We welcome the introduction of on-the-spot fines for careless driving, to make it easier for police to catch and prosecute risky law-breaking drivers.

“We are also pleased to see a much-needed rise in driving offence fines, but think this doesn't go far enough.

“It's crucial we encourage greater respect for laws on our roads, which are in place to protect people's lives, and higher fines can help achieve this. £100 is not enough to pose a strong deterrent to potentially life-threatening behaviour, like using a mobile at the wheel.

"We are also calling on government to stem worrying cut-backs in traffic policing levels.

“We believe traffic policing should be made a national policing priority, to ensure we have sufficient numbers of officers enforcing vital safety laws on our roads."

Meanwhile, the BCA research also asked drivers about bad habits they had picked up since passing their test. 

Top of the list was not keeping both hands on the steering wheel, with 60% of motorists admitting to this. 

Second was speeding on motorways, with 41% of drivers saying they did this, with a further 32% saying they sometimes drive through amber lights. But only 4% admitted to using a hand-held mobile phone while driving. 

“It’s interesting to see that only 4% of drivers admitted to using their phone without hands free, but over half of those we surveyed are irritated by drivers who do the same,” said Tim Naylor, editor of the BCA Used Car Market Report. 

“When asked which things have the biggest negative impact on the way they drive, nearly half of our respondents simply blamed other drivers (47%). It seems that UK drivers also like a bit of courtesy on the road, with 43% saying that they hate being ‘cut-up’.

Drivers Admit their Own Top Bad Habits

Pet Hates About Other Drivers


  1. I don't keep both hands on the steering wheel 60%
  2. I speed on motorways 41%
  3. I sometimes drive through amber lights 32%
  4. I use my mobile phone, not on hands free 4%




  1. Selfish Driving 70%
  2. Drivers Using Their Phone 57%
  3. Being 'cut-up' by other drivers 43%
  4. Drivers not saying 'thank you' if you let them out into traffic, etc 34%
  5. Drivers texting 34%



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