UK drivers’ biggest worries are people updating social media or sending text messages while driving, drink or drug driving, and mobile phone use, according to IAM RoadSmart’s third annual Safety Culture Survey.

The survey of more than 2,000 motorists found that over 90% of those surveyed consider the dangers caused by people accessing social media or email messages while driving to be a significant threat to their personal safety. According to 80% of those surveyed, the problem is more significant now than it was three years ago.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs also remains an issue, with 90% of drivers surveyed identifying this as a serious safety problem. And while around half of the drivers surveyed believe the dangers posed by drink-driving have remained the same over time, the problem of people driving under the influence of drugs is increasing, with 64% identifying this as more significant over the last three years.

“In the three years we have been running this survey, people’s worries about drivers using new smartphone technology have remained consistently high,” said Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart’s Director of Policy and Research. “And while public awareness of the dangers of using handheld mobile phones is now good, almost 60% of drivers still believe it is acceptable to use a hands free phone despite growing evidence of the distraction this can cause.

“With three years of data there are several other trends emerging which do cause us some concern. Around a quarter of drivers still feel it is acceptable to speed at 5mph over the limit in residential areas and one in in ten believe it is alright to get behind the wheel after taking alcohol and marijuana. These figure show we have a long way to go before all the dangers caused by reckless driver behaviour are eradicated from our streets.”

According to the survey, there is little tolerance for breaking motoring laws; 50% of drivers feel it is unacceptable to drive 10mph higher than the speed limit on a motorway. This figure falls substantially for other forms of speeding, such as driving at 5mph more than the limit on a residential road (76% unacceptable), and driving at 5mph greater than the limit near a school (90% unacceptable). While 45% think it is acceptable to drive using a hands-free phone, that figure drops to just 9% when it comes to a hand-held one.