Survey suggests congestion biggest concern of UK motorists

10.54 | 16 November 2018 | | 4 comments

Traffic congestion is the top concern of UK motorists in 2018, while drivers using social media on the move is seen as the biggest risk to personal safety, according to a new survey.

Published on 15 November, IAM RoadSmart’s fourth annual Safety Culture Survey canvassed the views of more than 2,000 drivers about their worries, fears and attitudes.

More than three-quarters (76%) of those surveyed said that congestion is a bigger problem than three years ago, followed by mobile phone usage (73%).

The third biggest concern was aggressive drivers, which more than a third (68%) of respondents said was a bigger problem than in 2015.

However when asked what motorists feel is ‘a serious threat’ to their safety while driving, drivers checking or updating their social media or texting ranked first, with 93%.

Other major concerns were people driving after using illegal drugs (91%) and after drinking alcohol (90%), drivers speeding on residential streets (89%), talking on mobile phones (89%) and ignoring red lights (88%).

In terms of drivers’ attitudes, 48% of respondents said driving at 10mph over the limit on a motorway was acceptable, while 45% believe it is ‘alright’ to talk on a hands-free mobile phone.

23% of respondents said they were willing to drive at five miles an hour over the limit in a residential street, 11% said they would drive without a seatbelt and 9% said they would drive at 5mph over the limit near a school.

Talking about their own bad habits, 5% admitted they regularly talked on a mobile phone while driving, with 4% confessing to have regularly driven while feeling drowsy or tired.

When asked what traffic police should make a top priority, drink and drug driving was significantly the biggest choice (59%), followed by drivers using hand-held mobile phones (12%) and speeding on local roads (10%).

Mike Quinton, IAM RoadSmart chief executive officer, said: “UK drivers still have many worries when it comes to daily life on the road and there is ample time to think about them, considering the time they are spending in traffic jams.

“They still find the smartphone culture dangerous when mixed with the job of driving a car. Our ever busier roads need every drivers’ full attention if we are to make them safer for everyone and it’s clear those who responded to this survey recognise the extent to which mobile phones can distract a driver.

“However, despite recognising the risks, we have tracked drivers’ attitudes for four years now and it is clear that they are not shifting. Simply informing drivers about risks and trusting drivers to ‘do the right thing’ would not appear to be effective.

“There is a high level of support for stronger sanctions and more high profile policing, to ensure that the fear of being caught is a reality.”



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    I share your observation that the school run increases traffic and congestion. But 95%? I would be surprised. This would mean that in holidays at peak school times there are 20 times fewer vehicles on the road! It would be interesting if it were so, in which case your source for this statistic would be useful.

    Also, an AA report showed that only 20% of child road casualties were on the way to or from school. And that’s why we like an intervention that will provide better protection for all. And if you wish to have more children walking and cycling to school then surely they will need us drivers to modify our behaviour and speed on the community streets they use.

    As for “being up my street” you may or may not be pleased that I do not intend to start any new campaigns other than 20’s Plenty.

    Best wishes

    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I agree with you on this one to a degree Rod. Reduce the unnecessary use of vehicles when other forms of transport or alternatives are readily available. The one thing that I was thinking about is the school run. I am sure many of us have easily recognised that at school holiday time traffic is dramatically reduced by some 95% and such journeys are for short distances and of a short duration.

    However they cause a lot of pollution that can be reduced and the greatest danger time for collisions and casualties to occur. Perhaps one can instigate, together with the 20 is plenty scheme another such scheme that would target this behaviour and eradicate this unnecessary and dangerous action. It would have the other spin off of helping to reduce at least 95% of those pollutant he want to eradicate

    This could also have an effect of making children and adults healthier and bring the community closer together as they are enjoying something in common. So, reduce collisions and some danger to pedestrians and children, reduce pollution, improve health. That just up your street. Let’s see if parents, particularly women will agree to giving up their vehicles and give time to walk their children to and from schools.

    Its a win win situation but it will require a change of mindset within the population.

    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I think whether one is bothered by congestion simply depends on where one is. City dwellers experience it more than those in rural areas; commuters in the rush-hour will experience it more than the recreational motorist and regular motorway users will inevitably get caught up in it at some time, whereas those who drive mainly on country roads not at all – just a few examples. Rod’s idea would be applicable to the cities no doubt, but unnecessary and impractical elsewhere, I would have thought.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (2) | Disagree (1)

    So, too many drivers think there are too many vehicles on the roads. In that case it may have been useful to ask those drivers how they were planning to reduce the number of times they put their cars on the roads.

    The answer is obvious. Make driving less convenient and add more convenience to modes of travel which take up less space and by modal shift reduce the number of vehicles on the roads.

    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (8) | Disagree (7)

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