This is IAM RoadSmart's fifth annual report on the opinions, attitudes and behaviour of British drivers. Once again, it makes interesting reading, firmly establishing the main stress points for British drivers as they go about their daily journeys. ‘Congestion’ is now confirmed in the number one position just ahead of ‘other drivers using mobile phones’. This underlines the continuing frustrations of British drivers’ and the need for guaranteed long term investment to deliver a safe and efficient road system.
Although there have been minor fluctuations in the last five years, the overall conclusion has to be that attitudes to road safety are not changing and appear to be fairly entrenched. The strength of this survey is its ability to confirm trends over time. The results show that a worryingly high number of drivers still feel that speeding is acceptable even in residential areas. Acceptability of using hand held mobile phone is also still too high. One in ten drivers still think it acceptable to drive after taking alcohol or marijuana. Support for key road safety initiatives such as a lower drink drive limit remains high but far too many drivers still seem to think it is acceptable to speed on motorways. Changing the law to favour cyclists is still far from obtaining mass support, as are blanket reductions in urban speed limits.
For IAM RoadSmart, and other opinion formers, these results show that we must all still maintain our efforts to make speeding as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving, particularly among men! Also, it is clear that the messaging around distraction from hands free smartphone use is still not cutting through to any level of acceptability and understanding. Public support for graduated driver licensing and new ways to keep older drivers safer for longer is high and this should encourage the government to act soon.