Streetwatch - driver behaviour

5% of drivers still not belting up

16 June 2011

One in 20 drivers at junctions could have been thrown forward or through the windscreen if they had to make an emergency stop, the AA's army of volunteer Streetwatchers has found.

One in 20 drivers at junctions could have been thrown forward or through the windscreen if they had to make an emergency stop, the AA's army of volunteer Streetwatchers has found.


In the second AA Streetwatch survey, volunteers observed driver behaviour at junctions and roundabouts.


AA Streetwatchers logged 40,000 vehicles making this the biggest-ever street survey of driver behaviour carried out in the UK.


A total of 4.92% of drivers observed in the survey were not wearing a seatbelt.


If drivers had smashed into the back of the car in front, it may not have been entirely their fault though as nearly one in 25 (3.6%) cars had broken brake lights.

 

However, 9.57% were judged to be going too fast while negotiating the junctions and would have made a collision even worse.

Expectation vs observation

The survey does show that in many cases respondents perceived road safety infringements to be much worse than they actually were.

The level of use of hand-held phones while driving was better than most AA members expected.

A complementary AA/Populus poll, responded to by 11,548 members, found that 83% expected to see one in twenty (5%) drivers using a hand-held phone, while AA Streetwatchers actually observed only one 1 in 435 (0.23%) to be doing so in their surveys.

Again a difference emerged with cars considered to be going too fast. Nearly two thirds of AA members in the poll believed that more than 20% of cars at a junction near their home would be driving too fast. However, the AA Streetwatchers reported only half that level at 10 per cent of vehicles going too fast.

Perception followed reality more closely with seat belts. The observed 4.92% of drivers not wearing seat belts was predicted by 36% of AA members in the member's poll, with another 34% expecting the problem to be worse.

Twelve per cent of observers witnessed some action they considered to be road rage. Whilst there were some worrying trends, overall most drivers were reported to be acting responsibly.

Top line figures

Overall, looking at the 40,000 vehicles observed in the survey;

  • Vehicles not indicating – 33%
  • Vehicles appearing to be going too fast – 9.57%
  • Drivers not wearing a seatbelt – 4.92%
  • Faulty brake light(s) – 3.6%
  • Driver using a mobile phone – 0.23%

Comment

Commenting on the second AA Streetwatch survey, Edmund King, the AA President, said: "AA Streetwatch observations show that 5% of drivers are still not wearing seatbelts despite this contributing to 30% of road deaths.

"Many of those un-belted were taxi and van drivers who should be aware that they are potentially more at risk due to their higher mileage. It is of great concern that 5% of drivers still haven't got the 'clunk click every trip' message.

"AA Streetwatch reveals many regional variations but also raises questions for future analysis. These include whether the use of hand-held mobile phones is less at junctions or outside business hours.

"The AA is grateful to our dedicated Streetwatchers for conducting this important survey as their findings will be used to help influence road safety policy."

It is of great concern that 5% of drivers still haven't got the 'clunk click every trip' message

Edmund King, AA president

Comment

Commenting on the second AA Streetwatch survey, Edmund King, the AA President, said: "AA Streetwatch observations show that 5% of drivers are still not wearing seatbelts despite this contributing to 30% of road deaths.

"Many of those un-belted were taxi and van drivers who should be aware that they are potentially more at risk due to their higher mileage. It is of great concern that 5% of drivers still haven't got the 'clunk click every trip' message.

"AA Streetwatch reveals many regional variations but also raises questions for future analysis. These include whether the use of hand-held mobile phones is less at junctions or outside business hours.

"The AA is grateful to our dedicated Streetwatchers for conducting this important survey as their findings will be used to help influence road safety policy."

Regional

Not wearing seatbelts: London 7.15%, South East 4.18%, South West 5.36%, Wales 5.92%, East Midlands 3.48%, East Anglia 4.19%, Yorks/Humberside 3.94%, North West 5.03%, North East 5.45%, West Midlands 7.43%, Scotland 4.21%, Northern Ireland 5.32%.

Speeding: London 9.41 %, South East 7.78%, South West 6.69%, Wales 7.91%, East Midlands 10.79%, East Anglia 10.15%, Yorks/Humberside 7.56%, North West 8.39%, North East 20.99%, West Midlands 17.56%, Scotland 11.87%, Northern Ireland 11.96%.