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Executive Summary

This report explores in detail motorists' attitudes, actions and priorities with regard to their vehicles, the road network, government transport policy and the effects of recession on their everyday motoring lives in 2009 and beyond. It is based on research from a sample of 1,109 British motorists.*

There are a number of key findings emerging from this year's research which include:

An increasing sense of motorists disengaging with the big policy issues of the day and the debate surrounding them, such as the environment, traffic management and long-term road improvement and planning. A focus instead on issues of immediate relevance to the motorist's wallet such as reducing car usage and the perception that they are an easy target for further taxation.

Growing support for the role of public transport with 67% of motorists stating they would use their cars less if this option were better and 75% demanding further investment in it as a method for reducing congestion.

Evidence that the newest generation of drivers is more knowledgeable about how to be environmentally-friendly, but are more at risk from incar distractions (55% of young drivers are distracted by in-car gadgets) and are less aware of the dangers of drink and drug driving (12% of young drivers believe motorists are fit to drive after taking a class B drug).

Dedicated efforts by motorists to lower the cost of owning their vehicles, with 53% walking more often and 77% shopping around for car insurance. But also evidence of increased risk-taking by motorists to save money, with 31% increasing the period between servicing their vehicle, 27% cutting back on breakdown cover and 25% conducting their own repairs without the specialist knowledge required to do so.

Frustration at the condition, maintenance and lack of improvement to the roads. Around 82% of motorists think the quality of roads is getting noticeably worse, (a rise of 14% on 2008 figures).

Motorists' support for some government transport policies, such as Active Traffic Management, but opposition to others, such as the continued prevalence of speed cameras, with 75% believing they are about raising money rather than improving road safety.

A lack of clear communication by the Government on some recent motoring-related legislative changes, with only 32% of motorists aware of the new CO2-related road tax bands and only 16% of motorists claiming to understand them.

* Further information about the research can be found in the Appendix on page 58 of the published RoM 2009.


Just some of the things UK drivers have been telling us...

Foreword by Robert Gifford