Eastern European drivers make UK roads more dangerous

Britain is a safe place to drive. But foreign drivers are putting British people's reputation at risk because a growing minority don’t understand UK traffic rules, according to the Sunday Times.

Sheena Grant was sitting on the back seat of her friend’s Peugeot with her five-year-old daughter Mia when they collided head-on with a Toyota Carina being driven by a young Polish woman going the wrong way round a roundabout.

Sheena, 25, had been on her way home from Basingstoke to Reading. It was Sunday and she was due to sing with the gospel choir in church that evening. Instead she spent it in intensive care, her young daughter just a few yards away and also badly injured. Three days later, on November 29, 2006, after three operations to try to save her life, Sheena died. Mia, now 6, suffered a ruptured spleen but survived.

New figures revealed by the police to The Sunday Times under the Freedom of Information Act show a rise of 27% in the arrest rates of eastern European drivers since 2005, in the 15 police-force areas that provided data. By far the largest proportion of the increase is down to drink-driving. In the eight months from April to November last year just less than 6% (99 out of 1,678) of drink-drive arrests in Sussex were of drivers from eastern Europe.

Peril from the east brings new threat to our roads (Sunday Times, 20 January 2008)