Laws: Who’s Breaking What

A one-stop-shop for all your scofflaw argument needs.


The aim here is to present various percentage-based statements about who’s breaking which laws on the road (plus who’s indulging in which dangerous behaviours), backed up with references. I’ve tried to include only statistics which are derived from either (a) reasonably convincing research studies, (b) reasonably trustworthy evidence such as conviction rates and police data, or (c) “self-admission” surveys (ie those involving respondents confessing to their own behaviour, which are highly unlikely to overestimate non-compliance) – but, as with all statistics, handle with care. If you have any sense, you should realise that apparently similar phrasing below does not necessarily equate to directly comparable data once you look at the source.

If you know of further sources which can be added, please leave a comment; I’ll check it out, remove the comment, and replace it with an entry if it’s usable. Thanks.

Stopping at junctions

A note on red light jumping: most statistics do not account for the opportunity to jump lights. Two-wheeled vehicles (bicycles and motorbikes) have much greater opportunity, because they can filter; whilst full-lane-width vehicles must remain behind any which have not jumped the lights.

So, for instance, if 10% of cyclists jump lights when they all have opportunity to do so, then that may reasonably indicate that 10% of cyclists willingly jump lights. And if 14% of drivers admit to willingly jumping lights then, despite fewer drivers being observed jumping lights, this figure is arguably directly comparable with the 10% of observed cyclists, because for the majority of the time the drivers do not have the opportunity.

Hence in the vast majority of cases, where opportunity is not accounted for, the statistics distort the compliance picture in favour of full-width vehicles. For more discussion, see a Response to the IAM and  a Response to The LDTA.

Mobile phones


Drink and drugs

  • 7% of drivers admit to having driven whilst knowing or suspecting they were over the drink driving limitRAC Report on Motoring 2012

Other unsafe behaviours

Licensing, insurance and taxation

Commercial and corporate vehicles

Rejected sources

Data from the following sources have not been included because they are considered to be of particularly low quality; generally either highly distorted sample sets or partisan summaries of opaque data.


Thanks to the following for contributing links: Solihull Cyclist.

2 thoughts on “Laws: Who’s Breaking What”

  1. UK average 54% of drivers admit to driving on a footway, by admission that they park on a footway – a detail which can only be achieved by driving on a footway (RNIB survey by YouGov April 2013). Frustratingly whilst cyclists get pilloried for the same offence (HA 1835 s.72 / R(Sc)A 1988 s.129(5)) and hit with FPN’s no one is after the car drivers.

    HGV’s have stronger legislation RTA 1988 s.19 which specifically prohibits parking on verges and footways, and GLA also has footway parking legislation for London.

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