Research & reports

Title: RAC Report on Motoring 2018

Organisation: RAC
Date uploaded: 7th November 2018
Date published/launched: September 2018

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The RAC’s annual Report on Motoring, now in its 30th year, is based on a survey of more than 1,800 UK motorists and reveals drivers’ attitudes and concerns. The annual publication also paints a picture of how and why car owners’ views are evolving over time.

The key findings from the 2018 report are summarised below

The top concern among motorists is now the condition and maintenance of local roads
The state of local roads – in particular, road surface quality and the presence of potholes – has become the most frequently cited concern among Britain’s motorists.

This year, 42% of respondents said the condition and maintenance of local roads is one of their four main concerns, a significant rise on the 33% recorded in 2017. Almost one in five drivers (17%) say this issue is their number-one concern.

78% of motorists believe the state of both local and strategic roads – major dual carriageways and motorways – is ‘generally poor’; 66% say the condition of their local roads has deteriorated in the past 12 months, while 40% say the same of major roads.

The majority of drivers (83%) would like to see a proportion of the motoring taxes they pay ring-fenced to fund maintenance of local roads.

Car use has risen for the first time in four years
In 2018, 27% of motorists say they are using their cars more than in 2017, while only 18% say their use has reduced; this follows three years where a greater number of drivers reported using their car less.

33% of motorists say they are more dependent on their car now than a year ago compared with 27% in 2017. Of those who are driving more, 24% blame a deterioration in public transport services.

Of motorists who are in work, 62% say their car is their main way of commuting, while for motorists with school-age children, 61% drive to school – although only 18% of this group do not then go on to drive to work. The report says this highlights how difficult it is for the majority of those taking their children to school by car to switch to alternatives such as walking, cycling or public transport.

The dangers posed by other motorists’ careless, aggressive or illegal driving remains a significant issue
The use of handheld mobile phones by other drivers at the wheel is the second most common concern this year: 38% say this is one of their top four concerns, only slightly down from 40% in 2017. The percentage of drivers admitting to using a handheld phone while driving has not fallen in the last year despite the stiffer penalties introduced in early 2017.

The aggressive behaviour of other motorists – which could include the likes of tailgating, undertaking or even road rage – has been named as a top-four concern by 28% of UK motorists this year, while drink- driving is a concern shared by 27%.

The percentage of drivers admitting to drink-driving has risen to its highest level in recent years.

The report says these findings are particularly interesting in light of motorists’ views on traffic law enforcement: this year there has been an increase in drivers who believe they will not be caught if they break most motoring laws – up to 28% from 24% in 2017 – while more than two-thirds (68%) think there are not enough dedicated roads police officers to enforce existing laws (up from 62% in 2017).

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