Policy & Research Reports
Our policy team publishes original and award winning research on a range of road safety topics, looking at behaviour, education and infrastructure.
Recent topics include local investment, the dangers of using a smartphone while driving, and an analysis of young driver attitudes.
We aim to use our research to highlight current issues, raise awareness, and influence government policy. We would like to hear from anyone interested in our work, and welcome ideas for new topics and partnerships.
If you would like to sign up for regular policy updates please contact us at email@example.com.
Transforming Riding: An Evaluation of Advanced Motorcycling
This report shows clearly that preparing for and taking the IAM Advanced Motorcycle test bring positive and lasting benefits for motorcycle riders. The vast majority of people who take our courses say it makes them feel safer, more confident, more attentive, more observant and more decisive in their riding. By doing so it also adds to their enjoyment on the road. IAM bikers report smoother progress and a much more conscious approach to their on-road behaviour. 61% of those surveyed even said that they had avoided being involved in an accident since they passed the test. Awareness of other road users including pedestrians and cyclists was raised as was knowledge of hazards and difficult conditions. 81% of those who had taken our training passed on what they had learned to friends or family and would recommend us.
Improving the safety image of motorcycling is a key component in promoting its role as a solution to congestion and other transport problems. It is clear that the IAM approach works but we need the support of central and local government, the emergency services and other agencies to promote our message to as many bikers as possible.
Holding back the gears: The ageing process and driver safety
There are currently almost 4 million drivers over 70; this is set to increase by 49 per cent by 2032 creating a road safety debate. Some claim that older drivers can no longer be safe to drive after a certain age.
However, accident statistics show that older drivers tend to be much safer than younger ones, although they are over-represented in certain types of crashes.
We commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to look at how the ageing process affects driver behaviour. They carried out a range of tests and found that drivers over 75 react just as quickly as other ages when a vehicle emerges from a side road or if the car in front brakes suddenly on a motorway.
In cases where older drivers had slower reaction times, they used their experience on the road to compensate by driving more slowly and maintaining a bigger distance behind the car in front.
However, there were times when older drivers failed to look as often as the younger age groups. They were also more likely to stop short at junctions.
The IAM believes it is important these findings are used in on-road and online assessments to ensure that older drivers understand the risks they face and what they can do to improve their driving in key areas.
We would also like to see:
- A government action plan for older drivers
- More car manufacturers considering older drivers in vehicle design
- Better information for older drivers and their families
- Online self-assessment tools for older drivers
- Wider availability of voluntary on-road driving assessments
- Better partnership working at a local level
- Greater publicity to encourage health professionals to discuss driving
Download the IAM summary
Full results are available on request
Speed cameras: A snapshot of public opinion
The use of speed cameras to reduce road casualties is probably one of the most contentious areas of road safety policy, often attracting widespread criticism.
We wanted to know how public opinion compares to the different arguments in the debate on speed cameras. To do this we have commissioned a public opinion survey on speed cameras every summer for the last six years, giving us over 6,000 responses.
This report covers the survey results and shows that people generally believe that speed cameras have a positive impact on road safety. It also finds that acceptance of cameras has increased over time.
Although most people think that switching off cameras would have a negative impact on road casualties they are less sure of the motives for cameras. Few people believe that money from fines is not a motive for installing cameras, and many people doubt that cameras are only installed on roads with a history of traffic collisions.
The results show that there is clearly more to be done to reassure the public about the purpose and funding of speed cameras.
Skill for Life: Evaluating the advanced driving test
This report looks at how the IAMs advanced driving course affects peoples driving habits and the long-term impact on car control and driver attitudes. It covers independent researchers by Hopkin and Sykes (2012) which evaluated survey responses from over 2,500 members.
They found that obtaining reduced insurance, eradicating bad driving habits and reducing the risk of accidents were all motivating factors for taking the advanced test. Older drivers were also likely to want to refresh their driving skills and check that they were still competent on the road.
The report clearly shows that drivers who prepare for the advanced test notice increased skills, improved awareness of other road users and better control. All demographic groups noticed positive changes; younger drivers became more aware of the limitations of their vehicle, women tended to became more decisive and confident behind the wheel, and men were more likely to reduce their speed and become more considerate.
A fuller report covering all of the survey is available on request.