Recent research has shown that almost half (49%) of British motorists admit to breaking traffic laws, which equates to 10.5 million drivers based on DVLA records for the UK.
The survey by Whocanfixmycar.com reveals the staggering number of drivers who knowingly break the law but don’t believe they’ll be caught, reflecting an incredibly poor attitude towards driving by many motorists.
Considering the high numbers of drivers identified through our online driver profiling systems who also have a glaring lack of knowledge, it makes me wonder how many others are breaking the law without realising they’re doing it.
Attitude and knowledge are two of the four areas we assess when profiling drivers. Both are essential to safe driving because someone with the wrong attitude will take risks, knowingly break the law (as the survey reveals), tailgate, speed, try and overtake when its not safe, encourage road rage and display many other bad habits that heighten the risk of a collision for themselves and the other road users they encounter.
Examples of lack of knowledge are not knowing the legal tread depth on tyres, not appreciating what road signs mean and being unaware of many road laws – sometimes quite basic ones. On our systems, its knowledge where drivers struggle the most with many scoring worst in this section.
But what do we do to address it? Knowledge can be tackled relatively easily by asking all at-work drivers to read the Highway Code, then testing them on it.
Attitude can be more difficult, however I can give you a very simple example of how it can be changed in an instant.
Watch how people drive after witnessing an accident on the motorway. Most drivers slow down, ease back from the vehicle in front, drive more cautiously and take far greater care until the memory of that event wears off and they start speeding up again and following too close.
Similarly, if you’ve had a near miss yourself, it brings the dangers of driving to the forefront of your mind, altering your behaviour.
This proves that most drivers can drive more safely if they wish to, and that peoples’ attitudes can be changed.
The point is, one-off events or interventions (such as a half day on-road training course, one online module or a single road safety workshop) will only have an affect for a limited period of time.
The companies we have worked with who have decided to nurture a long-term culture of safe driving are those enjoying the greatest success, and they are providing on-going training, communication and awareness to their drivers.
Like many things in life, improving attitude is a marathon, not a sprint, but well worth the investment if it reduces your collisions, saves money, brings down the time involved in managing claims and, more importantly, saves lives.