Company car drivers accept hard action needed to end congestion misery

Article date: 27 June 2006

More than two-thirds of company car driversare now prepared to accept draconian measures to tacklecongestion, new research reveals.

They are prepared to do a deal with government on road pricing buttheir support depends on the terms offered in return –concessions on motoring taxes and improvements in public transportand the road network.

The RAC Report on Motoring 2006 – an annual in-depth indexof the views of UK motorists – reveals:

  • 83% of fleet drivers perceive that congestion is gettingsteadily worse
  • And nearly half of fleet drivers (48%) support a road pricingscheme using precise telematics technology.

The research suggests that company cardrivers are clear about the deal they want – nearlytwo-thirds require a trade off on motoring tax, 56% expectinvestment in existing roads and 67% say improvements in publictransport are crucial. Telematics technology is also popular withmotorists, and extending its benefits to include other optionssuch as in-car panic buttons could create a more positivereception for technology-led road pricing schemes.

Using the report findings, RAC is now calling on the governmentto:

  • Take positive action by offering financial trade-offs tocompany car drivers to make a persuasive case for roadpricing 
  • Commit to improvements in public transport
  • Work more closely with employers to improve workplace travelplans
  • Lead the debate to mandate in-car technology and provideincentives to motorists to encourage take up.

Debbie Hewitt, managing director, RACcomments: "Company car drivers are sending a clear signal togovernment that road pricing is a more palatable solution than ithas been for the growing problem of congestion – but they arelooking to strike a deal. Government must act now to seize thisopportunity to win over road users. Company car drivers themselvesare telling us that there is wide scope to gain their support, butit is critical that policymakers adopt a fair basis for charging,review the impact on current motoring taxes and promote thetechnological benefits of a road pricing system for the idea tobecome a reality."

Doing a deal
Critics suggest road pricing simplyextracts more money from motorists. Nearly two-thirds of companycar drivers reveal that a financial trade-off on the motoring taxburden is crucial for any scheme to get off the ground.

The road network’s struggle to keep pace with congestion is asource of great frustration for business drivers and potentiallydamaging for economic growth in the UK. In return for theirsupport, more than half (56%) of them stress that money raised fromroad pricing must be reinvested in improving existing roads.

English regions have allocated 72% of their transport budgets toroads, with the East Midlands and South East directing as much as95%1. However the acceptability of road pricing willdepend on a reliable and affordable alternative. Improvements inpublic transport are also vital if the scheme is to provesuccessful.

Fair and square
The basis for charging under roadpricing is uncertain with feasibility studies2suggesting up to £1.34 a mile on the busiest roads at peak times.Many fleet drivers say that to succeed, the scheme must becalculated on a fair basis. 45% believe that annual mileage is themost effective method.

In another strong message for Government, more than half (56%) ofbusiness drivers think charges for using town centre roads areunfair. Slightly more (58%) believe that higher charges during rushhour are unjust and 56% are against charging for motorwayuse.

Tempting technology
With global positioning systemslikely to underpin any charging scheme, the report reveals thatadvanced technology is a great way for government to win fleetdrivers round.

Road pricing would be received even more positively if thetechnology also offered a number of driver-friendly features.Anti-theft tracking is the most highly valued facility with 88% offleet drivers indicating they would like one. Other attractivefeatures include re-routing gizmos to avoid hold-ups (82%) and apanic button that raises the alarm in an emergency (70%).

A full version of the report can be downloaded from


For more information:

RAC Press office contact
Jon Clements or Ruth Devlinat Staniforth on 0161 919 8495

Jenny Chapman or Adam Cracknell at RAC Press Office on 01603 684224or 01603 684916

Notes to editors:

1Road schemes steal from public transportin regional carve-up of transport funding: press release issued byTransport 2000, Friday 10 February 2006.

2 Taken from speech by former transport secretaryAlistair Darling for the Social Market Foundation examining theneed for road pricing and its potential benefits – 9 June2005.

Morpace International interviewed 1,000 regular drivers ( definedas driving at least once a month) face to face at home duringJanuary and February 2006 in the UK. The RAC Report on Motoring isan annual piece of in-depth research on the views of UK motorists.The report surveys and analyses the state of motoring today andprovides a clear view of how motorists view the numerous challengesof driving and possible solutions. Topics covered includecongestion, technology, green motoring and road safety.

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is oneof the UK's most progressive motoring organizations, providingservices for both private and business motorists. Whether it'sroadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning todrive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial servicesor up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able tomeet motorists’ needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC AutoWindscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC'spowerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leadingposition in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part ofAviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one inseven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 14%.

Back to top