At a time when leaders of the motor insurance industry, the UK Government and motor manufacturers come together to discuss ways of making roads safer and motor insurance cheaper, the survey by the RAC suggests the message is just not getting across to young drivers. The results from interviewing over 1000 drivers showed that 17-24 year-olds are more likely to take drugs before driving now than they were 12 months ago, the figures increasing from 5% to 9%. In the same period 1 in 8 of the same age group had been in a vehicle knowing the driver was under the influence of drugs and were seemingly not too concerned.
The situation for usage of mobile devices was equally depressing with 20% of young drivers admitting they access Facebook and Twitter while driving. In 2011 the figure was just 10%! Studies by motorhome insurance providers show that drivers using hand held phones are twice more likely to have a crash, while evidence from other industry experts suggest that using a mobile phone while driving is in fact more dangerous than drink driving. So where do we go from here? The RAC believe that the Government is at least partly to blame pointing out that using a mobile phone or taking drugs while driving is not widely held to be socially unacceptable in the same way as drink driving is. The reason they believe is because the Government have not funded a national hard hitting campaign to outlaw the modern curses in the way that drink driving was targeted for many years.
Of course later this year the new offence of drug driving will arrive on the statute book and maybe that will help, but many in the industry now believe only an out and out ban will stop youngsters from being tempted to reach for their mobile phones when behind the wheel of a car.