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3.0 What is concerning drivers?

Roundabout signpost pointing to Fuel costs, Rural & Urban

Drivers are a worried group, but money is not the only thing taxing them. The behaviour of other drivers and the state of the roads they drive on are also issues of real concern.

But as other concerns take precedence, are drivers getting more relaxed about previous worries? Do older drivers still make their palms sweaty? What about younger ones? And is congestion as bad as they think?

As last year's Report on Motoring revealed, drivers are increasingly concerned with local rather than national issues, and particularly the condition of the roads they drive on a regular basis.

3.1 Top concerns

Unsurprisingly the cost of motoring is top of the list of concerns - up from fourth last year - reflecting the soaring cost of fuel and insurance premiums. Almost a third of drivers said cost was of most concern and a further third that it was of some concern. But looking deeper, it was of most concern for 35% of people living in a rural location but just 30% of people in cities. According to the Commission for Rural Communities, people in rural areas spend 20-30% more on transport - motoring, taxis and public transport - than people in urban areas4.

Concerns about costs also came through in people's worries about the number of people driving without insurance or tax - with three in five expressing some concern about this - and one in ten labelling it the motoring issue they're most concerned about. According to the Motor Insurers' Bureau, uninsured drivers cost honest drivers £500 million in extra premiums - equivalent to £30 on each policy5.

Concerned about drink driving/state of the roads

 

  Concerned about drink driving Concerned about the state of the roads
Urban      17%    9%
Rural      13%    13%
Price of fuel per litre6

 

Date Petrol Diesel
June 2009      100.00p     103.8p 
June 2010      119.0p    121.2p
June 2011      135.8p    139.5p

3.2 Not bothered

As the economy has failed to improve significantly over the last year so drivers' priorities have changed. At the bottom of the list:

  • Only 10% of drivers rated the behaviour of young drivers (under 21) as a top five issue of concern to them.
  • Only 11% of drivers rated the impact of motoring on the environment as a top five issue of concern to them.
  • Only 13% of drivers rated the behaviour of older drivers (over 70) as a top five issue of concern to them.

3.3 Congestion

Congestion continues to be a major concern for drivers with 73% believing congestion is worse than a year ago - up from 66% last year - and seven in ten would like to see tough measures taken to reduce traffic levels. Allying this with the fact only 41% of people think local journey times are becoming more predictable and a pattern of concern begins to reveal itself. This is likely to be an extension of drivers' perception they cannot influence national motor policy, but would like some control over their local roads and the routes they drive most. The belief that congestion is getting worse is not backed up by official statistics. However, everyday journeys such as school runs are unlikely to have improved in the eyes of drivers making them.

Views on measures introduced to reduce congestion have also stayed almost static over the year.

  • 39% think extended times spent clearing up motorway incidents makes congestion worse up from 38% last year.
  • 35% believe active traffic management, hard shoulder running and variable speed limits reduce congestion down from 36% last year
  • 20% think increased use of average speed cameras reduces congestion down from 22% last year.

4. State of the Countryside 2010, www.defra.gov.uk/crc/documents/state-of-the-countryside-report/sotc2010/

5. Motor Insurers' Bureau Key Facts, http://www.mib.org.uk/Media+Centre/en/Key+Facts/Default.htm

6. Prices as at 1 June. Source: http://www.petrolprices.com

7. source: Inter-urban Congestion Statistics Year Ending March 2011, http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/roads/congestion/

4.0 The necessity of motoring

Appendix