GEM Motoring Assist monthly news round-up for June 2012

Posted on June 29th, 2012 by GEM Motoring Assist

June has been another busy month for motoring news; with some interesting stories about annoying motoring habits, drug-driving, motoring fines and high petrol prices hitting the headlines. Here are five of the best news items.

Traffic jam

Traffic jams: nominated as one of the driving issues most likely to irritate British drivers. Photo by David H Bolton

Tailgating: ‘the most hated motoring habit’

New research conducted by Halfords has identified ‘tailgating’ – the practice of driving too close to the car in front – as being the motoring habit which drivers detest the most.

Being tailgated by an inconsiderate driver sees the red mist descending on 68 per cent of British motorists.

Other annoying features of the road which infuriate law-abiding drivers include:

  • Not indicating properly (nominated by 60 per cent of drivers)
  • Weaving in and out of lanes (50 per cent)
  • Drivers who use a hand-held mobile phone (42 per cent)

But there is some good news: half the drivers questioned believe that drivers are exhibiting less annoying behaviour than they did five years ago.

The other annoying driving issues in the top ten are: traffic jams, driving too slowly while hogging a lane, fast driving, road works, poor road conditions, throwing litter from vehicles.

British drivers ‘want harsher penalties for mobile phone users’

GEM has also been conducting some research – and found out that British drivers believe that the law is currently too lenient on people using hand-held mobile phones behind the wheel.

At present, motorists who are caught using a mobile phone receive a fine of £60 and have three points added to their driving licence. However, according to GEM’s research, 82 per cent of British drivers believe that the points penalty should be doubled to six points and 90 per cent are in favour of increasing the fine to £100.

Find out the full results of the survey here.

‘Drivers with hay fever could be breaking the law’

The CEO of GEM has warned that many drivers who suffer from hay fever could be breaking the law without realising it. David Williams MBE is concerned that motorists who take prescription or over-the-counter medication to alleviate their hay fever don’t realise that such treatment can impair their driving skills and put road users at risk.

He said: “There are often alternative medicines available which won’t impair driving.”

Access a copy of the new free-to-download GEM leaflet ‘Don’t Motor on Meds’ to find out more information.

Is it time for roadside drug-swipe tests?

British peer Viscount Simon has queried why drug-swipe tests haven’t been made available to British police.

The Viscount, who is President of GEM’s road safety charity, is concerned that without proper screening technology police won’t be able to have enough evidence to convict motorists who are driving under the influence of drugs.

He told the House of Lords: “In 2010, the number of drug-driver prosecutions in the UK, which has just been released by the Department of Justice, was 34. During the same period, the number of drivers losing their licences in Germany, where the drug swipe test was used, was 34,000.”

Britons ‘driving less’ as petrol prices stay high

High petrol prices have meant that Britain is becoming a nation of stay-at-home gardeners and internet shoppers. That is the surprise conclusion of new research conducted by Halfords which has found that the average British driver is spending two working weeks less in their cars than they did last year.

The reason for this reduction in driving time is, according to the survey, the high price of petrol.  So how are Britons using the weekly time they once spent behind the wheel? Halfords research reveals that 14 minutes is now used for walking, 11 minutes is taken up with odd jobs such as gardening, 21 minutes is spent on the computer and 30 minutes is allocated to quality time with the family.

Commenting on the research, David Williams of GEM said: “It will be interesting to see if the crash rates go down as a result of British drivers being priced off the road.”

If you would like to comment on any of the issues mentioned in this news round-up then please feel free to comment in the box below. Perhaps you’d like to nominate some of the driving habits which annoy you the most? We’d love to hear from you!