Speeding or distracted drivers are considered the biggest threats on Yorkshire’s roads according to the charity Brake.

And as Road Safety Week begins motorists are being urged to sign the ‘Brake Pledge’, which highlights the importance of drivers being slow, silent, sober, sharp, secure and sustainable.

A thousand drivers took part in a Brake survey to identify which driving behaviour from a list of six they thought posed the biggest danger. More than 80 per cent of drivers in Yorkshire and the Humber ranked speeding or distraction as the greatest risk - the highest combined figure in the whole of the UK.

The survey’s results were released just days after officers with West Yorkshire Police took part in the ‘mannequin challenge’ craze to highlight the dangers of texting and driving - part of a national week-long crackdown on drivers using mobile phones behind the wheel.

Video thumbnail, West Yorkshire Police mannequin challenge
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Police say studies have found that talking on a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving can impair ability more than getting behind the wheel when over the drink-drive limit.

Now senior police officers and safety experts with Brake are calling on drivers to heed the results of the survey and to take responsibility for their behaviour on the nation’s roads.

“We need to change attitudes because a few moments’ distraction at the wheel can and does cost lives,” said Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, who is National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing. “This is about more than just identifying the problem.”

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Nationally the age of respondents was significant to whether speed or distraction ranked highest. Younger drivers (44 and under) said speeding is the biggest threat, while drivers aged 45 and older rated distraction as their biggest fear.

The Brake Pledge aims to raise awareness of the importance of drivers staying slow (drive under speed limits), silent (never make or take calls, read or type), sober (never drive after any alcohol, or illegal or impairing drugs), sharp (stay focused and don’t drive tired or with a health condition that impairs you. Get your eyes tested every two years), secure (make sure everyone is belted up correctly) and sustainable (don’t use a car if you have the option to walk or cycle or can use public transport).

A Brake spokesman said: “If every driver vowed to slow down, never drink alcohol or take drugs, never use their phones or other devices, always use seat belts and child restraints, drive when fit to do so, and minimise driving, then our roads would be safer places for everyone.”