Wednesday 18th April 2018
One fifth of motorists and more than a quarter of cyclists admit they’ve run a red light in the last year

Drivers and cyclists are risking their lives and the safety of others by ignoring one of the most basic road laws – stopping at a red light.

Rob Hull, The Mail Online, reports:

A fifth of motorists and more than a quarter of cyclists admit they've run a red light in the last 12 months - which could land them with fines of up to £1,000 and £30 respectively.

The huge number of drivers and cyclists who have confessed to ignoring a red traffic light suggests junctions are becoming a safety concern across the country despite the threat of hefty fines.

Failure to come to a halt for a red light in a vehicle usually carries a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100 and three penalty points.

However, if the actions are deemed extremely serious, it can result in a maximum fine of £1,000, up to six penalty points on a licence and an appearance in court.

But while it's easier to track down law-defying drivers - who can be picked up on cameras and identified by the car registration number - red-light-running cyclists are more likely to evade punishment.

And with fines for cyclists caught jumping lights being a £30 FPN, some will argue enough isn't done to encourage these road users to abide by the Highway Code.

The comparison website also found admissions of wider road-rule breaking among the 2,005 people it polled.

Nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of motorists said they had ignored the speed limit in the past year, with nearly one in 10 (9 per cent) having done so within the last 24 hours.

And, despite new rules which have doubled the penalties for using your mobile phone while driving to a £200 fine and six points, one in six (29 per cent) have owned up to using their device on the move.

Cyclists have confessed to other misdemeanors other than running lights.

More than half of cyclists say they've illegally ridden on the pavement in the last 12 months and close to half have ridden at night without a front and rear lights.

Even those on foot are ignoring some of the fundamental rules of the road designed to keep them save.

Almost one in five of pedestrians admit to putting themselves in harm's way by crossing the road without looking both ways.

In what could be the most damning verdict from uSwitch's report is that many are completely unaware if they have done something that would breach the rules of the Highway Code in the last year.

Just 36 per cent said they know they've disobeyed guidance given, while a worrying 28 per cent aren't sure if they have or not - highlighting a major lack of understanding of road safety.

Rod Jones, insurance expert at uSwitch, said: 'It's clear there's a lack of understanding of the Highway Code among drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, and the consequences could be fatal, even before you think about the financial and legal risks.

'It's essential that we reacquaint ourselves with the rules to ensure everyone stays safe while on the road.

'Even as pedestrians we have a responsibility for the safety of others and will often face the same risks – which can be complicated and worthy of better understanding from an early age.'

The survey found that an overwhelming majority of 77 per cent thought a better knowledge of the Highway Code would prevent road accidents, with eight in ten backing moves to initiate education in schools.

'Positively, there is a general consensus that more needs to be done in terms of Highway Code education,' Mr Jones added.

'Starting this with school lessons on road safety is a strong forward step to making our highways safer for everyone, whether they are behind the wheel, on two wheels or walking the streets.'

Understanding the highway code is unlikely to stop those that already ignore a red light, as it’s likely that drivers either knowingly do so, or they are distracted. For these reasons, perhaps educating drivers in journey planning and safe practice is the best way to prevent drivers from ‘running’ a red light.

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