Report on Motoring 2016

Road safety

1.2 Road safety

There is growing concern among motorists about the irresponsible and potentially highly dangerous behaviour of other road users. More than two in five (41%) of motorists say that drivers using handheld mobile phones – whether to make and receive calls, send text messages, or browse the internet – is one of their top four concerns, up from a third (34%) in 2015 – a higher percentage than for any other issue.

And 13% of drivers say that use of handheld phones by other motorists is their number-one concern in 2016 – only the condition and maintenance of local roads (14%) is cited as a bigger issue.

There has also been a rise in overall concern about other drivers breaking traffic laws: 23% say this is a top-four concern, up from 19% last year.

Overall concern about drink-driving is high but has fallen (22% now cite this as a top-four concern, down from 29% in 2015). Likewise, concern about driving under the influence of illegal drugs or banned prescription medication is down by a small amount (total concern is 17% compared with 19% last year).

There is growing concern among motorists about the irresponsible and potentially highly dangerous behaviour of other road users.

 

Concern among motorists over drink-driving has fallen this year, even though the number of deaths involving a driver over the limit has remained at the same level.

It may simply be that motorists are more aware of other issues, such as mobile phones. However, drink-driving remains a major killer – some 240 deaths a year – and must remain a priority for road safety.

- David Davies, Executive Director, Parlimentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety

41% of motorists say that drivers using handheld mobile phones - whether to make and receive calls, send text messages, or browse the internet - is one of their top four concerns
22% of motorists cite drink driving as one of their top four concerns
17% of motorists are concerned about people driving under the influence of illegal drugs or banner prescription medification


While not as potentially hazardous as handheld phone use or drink and drug-driving, rudeness is also a more serious issue for motorists in 2016: over a fifth (21%) now say this is a concern, up from 15% 12 months ago.

There has been a further small increase in concern about the behaviour of cyclists on the road: 18% of motorists cite this as an issue, up from 16% in 2015.
The continuing year-on-year decline in the number of dedicated roads policing officers over recent years (7) is likely only to have fuelled fears that irresponsible driving will go unpunished: 6% of motorists say this issue is a top-four concern.

Finally, concern about untaxed vehicles and/or uninsured drivers remains high: 27% name this as a top-four concern, up very slightly from last year’s 26%. The RAC warned that Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) revenues could suffer as a result of increased evasion after the tax disc was scrapped in October 2014, and motorists were no longer required to display evidence they have paid their road tax.

Figures published in the DVLA’s annual report and accounts in July showed VED revenue fell by £93m in the year following the abolition of the paper tax disc.


18% of drivers cite concern about the behaviour of cyclists on the road as an issue
21% of motorists think rudeness is now a major concern