Distraction by technology a bigger threat than drink driving – IAM

12.00 | 6 November 2015 | | 3 comments

Motorists are more worried about the dangers of the distraction posed by technology than drink-driving, according to a new ‘safety culture’ survey by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

Launched today (6 Nov), the IAM’s Safety Culture Index is a study of more than 2,000 UK motorists’ attitudes to driving safety and behaviour.

The report reveals that driver distraction is becoming an increasingly prominent issue. 77% of those surveyed say it is now a bigger problem than three years ago. This compares to just 23% of people feeling drink driving is a bigger threat.

Those surveyed also said text messaging and social media are the two biggest factors threatening their personal safety, with 93% and 92% respectively claiming these to be a ‘very or somewhat serious’ threat.

The next two factors they see as threats to their personal safety are drink and drug driving, at 90% and 89% respectively.

Respondents were more worried about speeding in residential streets than on motorways – 86% believing this to be a ‘very or somewhat serious’ threat, compared with 62% for motorways.

61% of those interviewed said it was acceptable to drive 10mph over the speed limit on the motorway, while just 27% felt it was acceptable to drive 5mph over the limit on a residential street.

Nigel Mansell CBE, IAM president, said: “The good news is that the vast majority of drivers do value safety and want to feel even safer on the road in the future.

“They take speeding and drink-driving very seriously and are happy to support even stronger legislation even if it may stop them doing things they admit to doing themselves.”

Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer, said: “This report is a crucial barometer of what drivers are really thinking. It is all about seeing what issues and factors the public see as important in their lives, and using that information to influence their behaviour.

“Understanding the issues drivers see as important when it comes to road safety is essential for establishing how best to communicate with them and so in turn to achieve behaviour change, on both a local and national level.

“It is up to all of us now, armed with this information, to do something about it.”



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    Those who clamour for more legislation, more restriction and more control, can be likened to those who throw stones at a greenhouse. Eventually there is no greenhouse left, and the floor is so strewn with glass preventing access, that all is lost.

    Derek Reynolds, Salop.
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    A fascinating report that amply illustrates the huge gulf between what people percieve to be the problem and what is actually the problem. Pretty well every response is a variation on the standard theme that it’s all “the other fellow’s fault”, but that’s not at all surprising in a system that is firmly founded on a culture of fault and blame.

    One of the questions is “How much of a threat to your personal safety are the following?” and it then goes on to list the usual suspects from speeding to texting, but what it doesn’t list is by far the greatest threat and that is the driver or rider themselves! Whilst people are content to blame everything and everybody else for their woes they miss seeing the bigger picture and the huge contribution they make to their own possible demise.

    Surveys like this continue to reinforce the incorrect understanding that it’s everybody else’s fault but mine and yet you would have thought that the IAM would have taken the opposite tack. They after all are in the business of selling rider and driver training and improvement aren’t they?

    Duncan MacKillop. No surprise – No accident.
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    Perhaps this is influenced by the fact that you notice a driver using their phone more than someone over drink drive limit. A little like people thinking that only school entrances are dangerous because its there that they notice the children rather than on rest of network which the children use to get to school but are less noticeable.

    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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