Red Alert: Motorists Drive Through 278 Red Traffic Lights a Minute
22nd August 2011
- 5.2 million drivers have passed through a red traffic signal in the last month
- Amber gamblers: Almost one in ten drivers doesn’t slow down for amber lights
New research from Direct Line car insurance reveals that motorists are driving through 12 million red lights each month on British roads – the equivalent of running 278 red lights every minute *.
Over 5.2 million (14 per cent) motorists admit that they drive through an average of two red traffic lights each month. Over 760,000 (two per cent) motorists habitually drive through red lights if they feel the road is clear and there is no traffic.
As a result of their reckless behaviour at red lights, drivers risk clocking up over 36 million penalty points (three for each offence) and fines from fixed penalty notices totalling £721** million every month.
A worryingly high number of motorists, dubbed ‘amber gamblers’, are putting their lives and other road-users at risk by failing to slow down for traffic lights about to turn red. Almost one in ten (nine per cent) motorists don't reduce their speed when approaching amber lights, with four per cent admitting to putting the accelerator to the floor to race through the lights.
Over 1.5 million (four per cent) motorists admit to getting ‘a thrill’ when driving through amber traffic lights that they know will have turned red before they have passed through the crossing or junction. Over 500,000 drivers risk being ‘rear ended’ as they stamp on their brakes as an automatic response whenever they see amber traffic lights.
Andy Goldby, director of motor underwriting at Direct Line commented: “Motorists who play Russian roulette at the traffic lights are putting their own and other road-users lives at risk. Motorists involved in an accident if they pass through a red light will automatically be deemed at fault for a collision. They could also face higher car insurance premiums at renewal if they have points on their licence.
“Vehicles approaching traffic lights and roundabouts are favourite targets for 'crash for cash' scams, where fraudsters fake accidents by making unnecessary emergency stops which force the following motorists to crash into them. Drivers should be aware that the car in front may brake very late if the light changes to amber, and should always proceed with caution. Brake steadily when approaching amber or red traffic signals to avoid the risk of hitting the car in front if the lights change, as well ensuring the driver behind doesn't crash into your vehicle.”
One in twenty (five per cent) motorists also risk head-on collisions by driving through temporary traffic lights, as they assume the lights are broken if they take more than a couple of minutes to change.
Drivers in the West Midlands are the biggest risk takers when it comes to driving through red traffic signals. One in seven (14 per cent) motorists in the region has driven through a red signal in the last month. Drivers in the East of England are the least likely (nine per cent) to drive through red traffic signals.
Drivers passing through red signals in the last month:
|Region||Percentage of drivers passing through red lights in the last month||West Midlands||19%||Scotland||16%||London||16%||South east||15%||East Midlands||14%||North West||13%||South West||12%||Wales||12%||Yorks & Humber||12%||North East||11%t||East of England||9%|
Notes to editors
*Opinium interviewed a random sample of 2020 adults aged 18+ via online omnibus 22nd – 25th July 2011. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. (Population base figure - 49,529,000 source ONS).
Calculation for 278 lights passed per minute:
Population base figure - 49,529,000 (source: ONS), number of drivers in the population = 1551/2020 = 77% = Drivers in UK = 38, 137,330 (38 million drivers in the UK)
213 Drivers passed through a red light deliberately or accidentally in the past month = 213/1551 = 13.7% * 38,137,300 = 5,224,814 (5.2 million drivers)
Average of 2.3 red lights passed in a month * 5,224,814 = 12,017,073 (12million) red lights driven through in the past month
5.2 million motorists drive through an average of 2.3 red lights per month =12,017,073
Average days per month =30, divide by 24 hours and sixty minutes = 43,200
Lights passed per minute = 12,017,073 /43,200 = 278
**Based on a fixed penalty notice fine of £60 per offence
12,017,073 red lights driven through in the past month, multiplied by 3 points for a going through a red light = 36,051,219 points risked
For further information please contact
Ewan Robertson/Kevan Reilly
Tel: 0207 282 2981/1096
Direct Line PR Manager
Tel: 0208 313 5965
About Direct Line
Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.
Direct Line is part of RBS Insurance, the second largest general insurer in the UK1 and is wholly owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.
Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3564 or visiting www.directline.com.
Direct Line Insurance plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered office: 3 Edridge Road, Croydon, Surrey CR9 1AG. Registered in England and Wales no. 202684. The Financial Services Authority's Register can be accessed through http://www.fsa.gov.uk
1Based on 2009 FSA returns (policies in force).
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