Edward Seaman, assistant editor of Road Safety News, summarises the key road safety related issues arising from the RAC’s 2016 Report on Motoring, which was published last week.
The poor condition of local roads, drivers using mobile phones and speeding on country roads and in 20mph limits are three of the key issues to emerge from the RAC’s annual report which reveals drivers’ attitudes and concerns and paints a picture of how and why car owners’ views are evolving over time.
The report, which covers a wide range of topics, is based on research conducted with a representative sample of more than 1,700 motorists around the UK.
Among its key findings in 2016 is that the poor condition of local roads is becoming an even bigger concern for motorists.
When asked to identify their top concern, more motorists (14%) said the state and maintenance of local roads than any other issue. Local roads were also the top concern in 2015, but last year only 10% of respondents ranked this issue at number one.
The RAC says this increase in the level of dissatisfaction is not a surprise, adding that while ministers have pledged extra funds for filling potholes and preventative maintenance, the Government’s own analysis suggests there is a multi-billion-pound backlog of repairs that is likely to take many years to be addressed.
Another concern highlighted in the report is that motorists are becoming more worried about other drivers using their phones. More than two-fifths of those questioned (41%) said this was one of their biggest concerns, a sharp rise on the 34% recorded in 2015.
In a press release which accompanied the report, the RAC described the use of handheld mobile phones as at ‘epidemic proportions’.
The RAC is also concerned that a significant minority of motorists (31%) admit to having used a handheld phone to make or receive calls while driving at some point in the past 12 months.
The RAC claims that these findings prompted the Government to announce a doubling of the penalties for mobile phone use – from £100 and three penalty points to £200 and six penalty points – to be introduced next year.
Also highlighted by the report is ‘a growing trend’ for drivers to break the speed limits on country roads and in urban 20mph zones.
While the number of drivers who admit to speeding in general has not increased significantly, the percentage who admit to speeding on country roads – which are where the majority of fatal accidents occur – has risen from 38% to 48% over the last five years.
In addition, the proportion who say they have broken the speed limit on 20mph roads has risen from 38% in 2011 to 46%.
Other issues highlighted in the report include increasing congestion, poor air quality and the price of fuel.
Click here to read the full 2016 RAC Report on Motoring.