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UK motorists 'disregard road laws'

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As many as 53% of motorists in the UK are disregarding important motoring laws and putting themselves at risk of injury, prosecution, or invalidating their insurance, a survey has shown.

While most drivers boast a "clean" driving licence, almost one in 10 motorists fail to recognise basic driving illegalities, according to a study by Hastings Direct Insurance.

The survey of 3,000 drivers found that many are unaware of the legal limit for tinted windows, and are ignorant about rules against eating or drinking at the wheel and driving with a dirty number plate. The breaking of these rules could lead to hefty fines.

Although 61% of UK drivers admit that they know it is illegal to light a cigarette while driving, 14% of them said that they do it on a regular basis - meaning almost three million motorists smoke regularly behind the wheel.

And 46% said they are unaware that it is illegal to drive without anti-freeze in the winter.

Hastings Direct trading director, Mat Shepherd, said: "It really is important that if they don't already, drivers take the time to understand the dos and don'ts of the roads - and take these seriously.

"If not, they could not only risk invalidating their car insurance policy should they have an accident under such circumstances, but could also face prosecution if they are caught."

© Press Association 2009