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Mobiles phone use ‘safer than speeding’

Driver on phone

A quarter of British motorists think it is better to drive while using a mobile phone than speeding, according to new research.

The findings emerged from a survey of 2,000 motorists after tough new legislation came in to introduce an increase in fines for those caught driving while using a handset, and penalty points for those caught first time.

Researchers also found two thirds of drivers knowingly drive over the speed limit, but only one in 10 had been caught during the last 24 months.

And despite clear signage indicating the acceptable limits on all roads, 45% of people think it is acceptable to drive faster than they’re meant to.

While seven in 10 drivers admit to intentionally slowing down to pass a speed camera, immediately speeding back up once past.

“It’s clear many motorists don’t see speeding as a particularly serious offence, and most admit they break the speed limit,” said Alistair Hargreaves, head of service for car insurer, Admiral.

“We wanted to find out where motorists rank speeding in seriousness compared with a range of other offences and bad driving habits.

“Nearly one in four thinks using a phone while driving is less serious than speeding.”

Harsher penalty

Both offences carry a penalty, but recently the government increased the punishment for anyone caught using their phone behind the wheel – you now face a £200 and 6 points on your licence.

“Attitudes to speeding on motorways are particularly relaxed for a lot of drivers, and the majority would like the government to raise the speed limit from 70mph.

The study shows 46% of motorists don’t think driving 80 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour zone is a particularly serious driving offence.

Which is why 84% of people admit to have broken the law on Britain’s motorways, compared to 64% cent on dual carriageways.

A third of drivers say they do tend to speed on urban roads, while 27% have gone faster than they should on residential streets.

A further 51% of people think suffering a bout of road rage is a more dangerous offence than speeding, while half of those polled think tailgating is worse.

For 28% of people on the road, undertaking is considered a bigger problem than speeding.

Driving a car with defective tyres is a worse offence according to 55% of people, as is failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing for 49%.

Even driving in the middle lane when the inside lane is clear is more of a crime according to 21% of respondents.

On the flipside, one in 10 people polled believe speeding is worse than driving under the influence of alcohol.

In addition, speeding is considered a bigger offence than driving while under the influence of drugs for 24% of adults.

But when questioned about acceptable speed limits, folk are agreed the maximum should be 26 miles per hour on residential streets and 74 miles per hour on motorways.

The spokesman for Admiral Car Insurance continues: “Local authorities across the country are introducing 20mph speed limits on residential streets to try and reduce fatalities. Our research indicates motorists are willing to accept lower speed limits on these roads.

“Where motorists would like to see the speed limit raised is on motorways, that’s not surprising considering the majority already admit they drive above the limit on these roads.”

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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