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Bad habits and lack of knowledge cause motorists to break the law

New research has highlighted the motoring laws that many motorists are unwittingly breaking, which could earn them points on their licence, incur a fine or even see their vehicle being confiscated.

For example, 61% of motorists weren’t aware that the rules about babies and children in cars changed last year, according to the survey from Allianz Global Assistance UK. Now, drivers can be fined up to £500 if a child under 14 isn’t in the correct car seat or wearing a seatbelt – including new-borns, who must be transported by car in a baby carrier, not in a passenger’s arms.

Furthermore, 64% of those who took part in the survey didn’t know that driving too slowly is deemed ‘careless driving’ and could earn them up to nine points on their licence plus a fine. Anyone caught eating, drinking or putting on a spot of make-up at traffic lights – and 49% admitted to these activities – could also be penalised for careless driving.

Everyone gets annoyed when someone sits in the middle lane of a motorway, but 27% of respondents admitted they do it, despite one in three knowing it’s illegal. They are risking a minimum £100 fine and potentially three points on their licence.

Mounting the curb is a tricky one, because at the moment it’s only outlawed in London and some other areas. While 63% were unaware of this, 44% admitted to doing it and could get a fine of up to £130. With calls to roll this law out nationwide, people need to be aware.

It’s perhaps unsurprising that 41% admitted to sometimes expressing their frustration at other road users by swearing. But this could be costly – drivers can be fined up to 75% of their weekly income for swearing verbally or using gestures.

A potentially even costlier crime is beeping a horn unnecessarily. Horns should only be used to alert traffic to your presence, such as on a bend. They shouldn’t be used in anger or as a friendly signal to friends, as it could incur a fine of between £30 and £1,000 and is illegal between 11.30pm and 7.00am in built-up areas. One in three motorists admitted to beeping without due cause, and 63% didn’t know they could be fined.

Meanwhile, 74% didn’t know that paying at a toll booth with their phone counts as using a mobile behind the wheel and is illegal because they are on a public highway. If caught, they could earn a minimum £200 fine or receive up to six points on their licence.

Many drivers may be guilty of turning up the volume for a favourite tune, but 84% didn’t realise that if they do it in a built-up area they could be pulled over by the police. 28% confessed that they have done this.

Finally, who who would think that having a nap in the car to sleep off an alcoholic drink is illegal? 49% knew they shouldn’t do this, but 16% said they have. This could get them a minimum of 10 points on their driving licence or even a driving ban.

It’s clear from the survey there are laws that many motorists either overlook or don’t know about. Not being aware of a law won’t help them if they are caught though. To avoid being on the wrong side of the law, it’s important to keep up-to-date with UK driving laws or risk the consequences of unwitting violations.