Article date: 9 July 2008
Company reputations could be at risk due to a significant rise in aggressive driving, according to RAC's 20th annual Report on Motoring.
Road rage - a concept that didn't even have a name in 1988 - is seen as one of the biggest changes in motoring over the last 20 years by company car drivers, along with the cost of motoring, congestion and speed cameras.
More than one in three of the business car drivers polled for the 2008 survey* say they've been a victim of driving behaviour that has left them feeling physically threatened. Yet over half (55%) admit to shouting, swearing and making rude gestures at other motorists themselves.
To avoid this behaviour damaging the reputation of a company, RAC is calling for better training to ensure employees know how to drive responsibly and respectfully. The motoring organisation believes that the key to achieving this is through providing training so that courtesy and respect is instilled as part of the company culture from the outset.
Adrian Tink, RAC motoring strategist, comments: "As numbers of cars and drivers on our roads increase, so will the motoring frustrations that lead to aggressive driver behaviour - unless we all make a conscious effort to respect our fellow road users.
"All eyes are focused on rising fuel prices which clearly affects the bottom line of any fleet business, but there's another menace on our roads that we can control - behaviour. It's worrying that millions of motorists are victims of a driving behaviour that didn't even have a name 20 years ago.
"But despite being victims themselves, it's shocking that even more drivers are prepared to admit to swearing, rudely gesturing and shouting at other drivers. This worrying behaviour becomes downright dangerous and can easily reflect badly on the business that driver represents, particularly if driving a branded vehicle.
"With better training for fleet drivers, this may make employees driving on business think twice about the effect their own behaviour has on their company, as well as others, while having the knock-on effect of making their own experience more pleasurable."
The 2008 Report on Motoring shows we are becoming a nation of increasingly impatient drivers, with the top causes of motoring stress for company car drivers including:
- Drivers who fail to signal their intentions clearly (79%)
- Motorists driving too close behind (75%)
- Using their mobiles while driving (73%)
- Drivers who don't pull over for faster cars on motorways (70%)
- Drivers who drive too slowly for road conditions (64%)
These stressful conditions are causing a fifth (21%) of fleet drivers surveyed to say that driving is now less pleasurable than in 1988.
One success over the last 20 years has been the campaign against drink driving. Just 2% of those polled admit to driving while over the alcohol limit, and the report shows that 75% of company car drivers would welcome changing the drink drive limit from the current 80mg of alcohol to 50mg, to bring it in line with other EU countries.
Adrian Tink explains: "The campaign against drink driving has been one of the success stories of the last 20 years, and RAC shares the clear public appetite for government to get even tougher with a lower drink drive limit. This reduction should be accompanied by random breath testing and continued focus on the most serious offenders."
The report shows, however, that stress and fuel prices are not yet pushing company car drivers off the road. 94% say Britain remains a car dependent society. 60% say we are likely to have to pay to drive in all cities and over 40% expect gridlock in the next 20 years, while 76% of company car drivers say they would find it very difficult to adjust their current lifestyles to being without a car.
In fact, over half of respondents agree that they spend more time in their company car than previously, with 43% saying they are reliant on their car for more journeys and over a third (34%) are commuting longer distances to work. In addition, almost a third (32%) have become reliant on in-car technology, such as Sat Nav.
To help improve the driving experience, RAC is calling for:
- Better training to encourage improved driver behaviour
- A reduction in the drink drive limit from the current 80mg of alcohol to 50mg, to bring it in line with other EU countries. This should be accompanied by random breath testing and continued focus on the most serious offenders.
- An increased and more highly visible traffic police presence to act as a deterrent against aggressive behaviour and other motoring offences.
RAC Press office contact:
Adrian Tink on 01603 681922 / 07800 690 602 or Sam Bramwell at Staniforth 0161 919 8024 / 07738 196 667 or Jon Clements at Staniforth 0161 919 8022 / 07989 414 486.
Notes to editors:
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.
RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been ranked first for customer service by JD Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study for the past two years.
Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 15%.
RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at www.racnews.co.uk/