Survey shows drivers don’t indicate

13.20 | 15 June 2011 | | 3 comments

33% of cars observed during an AA Streetwatchers survey did not indicate when turning.

AA Streetwatchers logged 40,000 vehicles at junctions and roundabouts across the country, and also found that 4.92% of drivers were not wearing seatbelts. 9.57% of cars ‘appeared to be going too fast’, 3.6% had faulty break lights, and 0.23% of drivers were using mobile phones.

Edmund King, the AA president, said: “AA Streetwatch observations show that 5% of drivers are still not wearing seatbelts despite this contributing to 30% of road deaths. Many of those un-belted were taxi and van drivers who should be aware that they are potentially more at risk due to their higher mileage.

“The survey does show that in many cases respondents perceived road safety infringements to be much worse than they actually were.

“If ‘localism’ is going to influence the use of road safety resources, local authorities better be sure that reality matches perception.”

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “Once again a survey shows that the biggest problem on our roads is simple forgetfulness rather than blatant law breaking. By far the biggest problem observed is failure to indicate rather than wilful speeding, phone use of failing to wear a belt.

“These findings underline the need for a better basic driving test combined with more encouragement for post-test training that really addresses the human errors that cause most deaths and injuries on our road.

“For those who break the law, high-profile policing should remain the main solution alongside taking a life-long approach to being a better driver.”

For more information contact AA Public Affairs on 01256 493493.


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    Robert, please continue shouting your message from the roof tops. High profile roads policing needs to be part of the drive to improve road user behaviour.

    Dave, Leeds
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    The IAM appear to blame not indicating as proof that a better driving test is needed BUT they themselves deride indicating if it is not necessary. Did AA Streetwatch observers specifically if a signal was necessary? If the survey was not that specific how can IAM complain about something they advocate?

    Andy Thomas, Warwick
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    We have undertaken two driver behaviour surveys 6 months apart here in Dorset as part of our “no excuse” project evaluation. We visited the same 25 sites across both urban and rural areas at the same time of day and for a 30 minute period we recorded the number of drivers not wearing seatbelts and at the same time recorded mobile phone use. We noted gender and vehicle type for both behaviours and in almost all cases the same officers conducted the surveys at the same locations and times for a degree of consistency. The figures are similar to the AA survey and reveal 4.1% of drivers here fail to belt up, with 80% being male and most were either van, LGV or taxi drivers. That is a significant improvement on the figure recorded in the first survey 6 months earlier where 6.8% of drivers were observed not wearing a seatbelt. Our long term Dorset Road Safe partnership project, “no excuse” focuses on intelligence-led additional overt and covert enforcement backed up with education and publicity and co-incides with this significant improvement in wearing rates. Mobile phone use rates whilst driving, observed 6 months apart show a small fall from 0.3% to 0.29% – similar to the AA survey. This is just a snapshot survey undertaken for 30 minutes but observed the behaviour of some 8,000 drivers. We didn’t set out to observe other driving behaviour such as failing to signal as it takes 100% concentration to observe and record seatbelt wearing and mobile phone use by gender and vehicle type. That’s plenty enough for one person to record. We also gave strict instructions only to record what the officers could definitley see – there’s no guessing or assumptions made about the behaviour – if they were not sure whether a driver was wearing a seatbelt or not they didn’t record it. I’d be interested to know whether the AA survey included sites in semi-rural areas as ours did and the time period. If anyone has undertaken similar snapshot driver behaviour studies I’d be interested to hear about them. What seems to be clear is that constant high-profile roads policing (fear of being caught) alongside education and encouragement is influencing positive behaviour change for some.

    Robert Smith, Dorset
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