Motorists are adaptable and patient and have put up with a lot over the years – the ever increasing price of driving, constant roadworks, the behaviour of other drivers and congested roads.
But have they run out of options? Can they do any more to cut down the cost of driving? Are they walking or using other forms of transport? Do they care about the bigger motoring picture or even the state of their local roads anymore, or have they been beaten into submission by the ongoing economic battle to pay the bills?
The RAC Report on Motoring 2012 reveals a nation of drivers who have run out of ideas in terms of changing their driving behaviour and are too pre-occupied to care about anything more than their immediate driving environment.
In 2008, before the recession took hold, the Report on Motoring revealed drivers were interested in the concept of partnership with Government on the big strategic issues such as the environment and longer term Transport Policy. Even when questioned back in early 2009, just after the recession first started, motorists were still engaged and caring about the big issues, but were now looking for Government to drive change. Now they no longer seem to care about issues that do not impact directly on their day to day motoring.
Top of their list of concerns is the cost of driving and owning a car. Fuel prices are at record levels and they only ever seem to rise.
Motorists have cut out all superfluous car journeys and amalgamated others wherever possible. The journeys they do are increasingly restricted to the ones that have to be done. This has led to drivers feeling more dependent on their cars than ever before and further polarised the needs and attitudes between urban and rural drivers, first evidenced in last year’s Report.
Running in parallel with economic issues are concerns about other drivers’ behaviour. Motorists in the 2012 Report consider themselves law abiding, but worry about other motorists’ annoying and potentially dangerous bad habits. A lack of visible policing on the roads is also a concern.
A generation of motorists is growing up without having experienced high profile Government campaigns alerting them to the danger of drink and drug driving and using a hand held mobile while they drive. This reduction in road safety education has seen the number of young people willing to drive under the influence of drink or drugs increase and the number of phone related offences soar.
Education and training for motorists come through strongly in the Report and a desire for life-long opportunities, which starts whilst in school and continues until the keys are hung up for the last time, are evident.
2.0 Who is the motorist?