Accident prevention priorities

Drivers' opinion turned upside down in 20 years

Drivers' opinion of accident prevention priorities turned upside down in 20 years

Drivers' opinion of accident prevention priorities turned upside down in 20 years

Nearly three-quarters of AA members (72%) believe that improving main roads would make the biggest contribution to reducing road deaths and injuries. This is an almost complete reversal of opinion compared to 20 years ago, new AA research reveals.

In a speech to the Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Transport Safety (PACTS)1 on 21 March the AA’s president Edmund King also revealed that more than two-thirds of AA members (68%) see improved training for drivers and road users as the next best way to make roads safer. In 1993, that approach had little support.

Some views haven’t changed in 20 years

Although a total ban on drink-driving, once top priority, has lost importance, random breath testing attracts consistently strong support (59%).

20mph speed limits in residential areas, despite a growing roll-out by UK councils, draw the same level of muted enthusiasm (43%) among motorists as a whole as they did in 1993.

The EuroRAP programme has done much to show how better road design can save lives.

How effective?

How effective are the following in reducing road traffic accidents and injuries?

  2013 ranking* 1993 ranking**
Improve main roads 1 (72%) 10
Stronger driver and pedestrian training 2 (68%) 9
Total drink-drive ban 3 (63%) 1
Random breath tests 4 (59%) 3
Improve public transport 5 (59%) 7
More stringent driving test 6 (54%) 4
More severe laws and penalties 7 (48%) 2
Black spot warning signs 8 (47%) 5
More cycle paths and priority 9 (45%) 6
Restrict passengers 10 (45%) 12
20mph limits in residential areas 11 (43%) 11
Driver retest after age 65 12 (35%) 8

*AA/Populus survey Feb 2013 - 19,859 respondents

**AA Foundation/Newcastle University: Risk & Safety on the Roads 1993 - 1,888 respondents

We have gone from 146 fatalities per million inhabitants in 1965 to 28 fatalities per 1m in 2012. This puts the UK at the top of the European Road Safety League but more can be done to stop five people being killed each day on the roads of the UK

Edmund King, president of the AA

Comment

Edmund King, the AA’s president and Visiting Professor of Transport at Newcastle University, said: “The UK has made tremendous progress in reducing the carnage on our roads in the last 45 years or so. We have gone from 146 fatalities per million inhabitants in 1965 to 28 fatalities per 1m in 2012. This puts the UK at the top of the European Road Safety League but more can be done to stop five people being killed each day on the roads of the UK.

“In the last twenty years we have seen road deaths reduce by almost 2,000 people per year. In 1993 the number one priority for drivers in reducing fatalities was a total drink drive ban. Today the number one priority is improving main roads which is mentioned by 72% of drivers. The second priority is to improve the training of drivers and pedestrians. In reality we need a host of improvements in education, engineering and enforcement to continue to reduce deaths and serious injures on our roads.”

The conference will also hear what drivers really think and how attitudes have changed over time, as AA president, Edmund King dispels some of the myths over issues such as attitudes to speed cameras, drink drive limits and frequency of MOT.  He warns: “Governments and opposition parties often assume they know what motorists think in a stereotypical way but when it comes to safety they quite often get it wrong. The driver today is more a Mr Tufty than a Mr Toad. ”


(21 March 2013)

1The PACTS conference Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics? Understanding casualty trends and the causes is the Royal College of Surgeons on 21 March.