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Mobile phone use and aggressive drivers are major concerns for road users finds IAM survey

IAM calls for an increase in the number of road policing officers and a zero tolerance approach to enforcement of traffic law

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has urged the government to make road traffic policing a higher priority after a survey revealed people would like to see a number of specific offences more aggressively targeted.

The survey, involving 2,703 people, was conducted by the IAM throughout April of this year. In the face of police budgets continuing to be cut, 45 per cent of respondents were in favour of an increase in the number of police enforcing traffic laws. Top offences respondents would like to see tackled include mobile phone use at the wheel; drink and drug driving; and aggressive and angry drivers.

In February, a Department for Transport (DfT) study found that the percentage of car drivers using a hand-held mobile phone has not gone down since 2009. Reflecting this, 72 per cent of those who took part in the IAM study said that they would like to see police officers making more effort to tackle the offence.

In February, we reported how Norfolk council is investing in technology to detect drivers using phones at the wheel in an attempt to crack down on distracted driving. However, another finding of the DfT study was that drivers are now more likely to be using their phones to text or look at the internet than to make calls. Being as the automated system relies on photographic evidence, this form of behaviour may be more difficult to identify.

As well as mobile phone use, 65 per cent of IAM respondents wanted to see more effort being made to address drink and drug-driving, while 50 per cent considered aggressive and angry drivers to be a major issue. Speeding also remains a concern with 64 per cent believing that more traffic police on major urban roads would be one of the best ways to combat this.

IAM’s chief executive officer, Sarah Sillars, said:

“The government cannot afford to be complacent about road safety and a lot more needs to be done to address major road offences through the enforcement of existing legislation and full use of police powers. The IAM supports an increase in the number of high profile road policing officers and a zero tolerance approach to the enforcement of traffic laws.

“Where drivers are failing to live up to the required standards they must be given access to a wider range of targeted retraining courses that refresh their skills, these include the IAM drink-drive rehabilitation course, educational campaigns targeting young drivers, and the IAM Skill for Life course which help existing drivers to improve their skills and give them greater awareness of other road users.”

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