Figures published by the RAC last week show an increase in drivers using drugs, mobile emailing and social networking. The organisation’s 2012 Report on Motoring found that the number of 17 to 24 year olds driving under the influence of drugs had increased from 5% to 9% in the past twelve months.
It also noted a 50% year-on-year increase in the number of 25 to 44 year olds using their smartphones to access email, Facebook and Twitter when behind the wheel.
David Bizley, the RAC’s technical director, “Government cuts have meant an extremely large drop in spending on road safety campaigns in the past two years, but the 2012 Report highlights the damaging effect this is having. The growth of the new breed of motoring offences, like drug-driving and social networking behind the wheel, is highly concerning. RAC urges Government to reintroduce high profile campaigns on these issues as soon as possible. These offences don’t yet have the same social taboo that drink-driving now holds, which thanks to years of concerted campaigns has continued to decrease as a problem. We welcome recent announcements that Government will tighten enforcement around drug-driving, but the planned changes focus too much on penalties rather than prevention. Government funding should be directed to educating people through road safety campaigns to deter them from driving dangerously and putting lives at risk.”
Spending by the Department for Transport on road safety campaigns dropped from £18.6 million in 2009/10 to £2.34 million in 2010/11, according to DfT figures obtained by the RAC.