IAM RoadSmart, a charity dedicated to reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads, is involved in lobbying for improvements in road safety standards and leading the road safety debate with central government and within the motoring community. IAM RoadSmart is an advocate for lifelong personal development of driving and riding skills.
IAM RoadSmart analyses multiple issues and viewpoints when considering ways to improve road safety, not least those of its, 92,000 members. Human factors are one of these – how the driver (or rider) interacts with the journey, the vehicle and the external world – as highlighted by the 2016 government report on road casualties: “All accidents have a cause and that cause is often someone making a mistake or exhibiting dangerous or thoughtless road behaviour”.
The 2017 IAM RoadSmart Safety Culture Index, a study of UK motorists’ attitudes towards driving. The report highlighted that the main areas of concern amongst motorists (who took part in the survey), included: Using a mobile phone whilst driving, aggressive driving and drug driving.
Whilst the UK has seen massive reductions in the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads over the decades, that figure has plateaued at just over 1,700 in recent years (reported road fatalities were 1,792 in 2016, 1,732 in 2015, 1,775 in 2014 and 1,713 in 2013. Reported serious injuries were 24,101 in 2016, 22,137 in 2015, 22,801 in 2014 and 21,657 in 2013).
Added to this, we are less than two decades away from driverless cars becoming popular on our roads. An important area of consideration is how driverless cars will exist on the roads alongside conventionally driven vehicles. What is certain is that the debate will not disappear as technology plays a bigger role in our motoring lives, and IAM RoadSmart will continue to play a central role in it.
IAM RoadSmart’s director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said: “Five years of flat lining road deaths is unacceptable. The huge gains in road safety made in the past now seem a distant memory. The government must show more leadership to really drive down road deaths in the future.”
Official government figures analysed by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart have found that convictions for traffic offences in England and Wales’s courts are steadily increasing again from a low point in 2013 – including a huge 52% increase in dangerous driving convictions.
Guilty verdicts were at 1.2 million in 2006 and declined for seven years until 2014 when the total number of offences started rising again and have continued to do so ever since.
Other surprising statistics to emerge from IAM RoadSmart’s research include a dramatic increase of almost 70,000 over 10 years in convictions for the failure to supply the identity of a driver of a vehicle.
By contrast there were also big drops in drink-drive and mobile phone-related convictions; IAM RoadSmart believes the dangers of both are finally sinking in.
There does not appear to be one single reason why conviction rates are on the rise again, but IAM RoadSmart surmises that a combination of targeted enforcement, increased electronic surveillance and a renewed focus on traffic policing after years of neglect may all be behind the increases.
The news of an increase in convictions will be welcomed by the law abiding majority of motorists; IAM RoadSmart members have for many years been in favour of harsher punishments for those who injure or kill behind the wheel, see story: https://www.iamroadsmart.com/media-and-policy/newsroom/news-details/2017/02/08/support-for-tougher-sentences-for-those-who-kill-on-the-road-says-iam-roadsmart-survey
In 2016 (the latest year for which figures are available) there was an increase of 19% in the total number of convictions compared to the most recent low in 2013.
The figures also reveal a welcome 10% drop in those convicted of drink-driving since 2013 when 43,000 drivers were found guilty compared to just under 39,000 in 2016 – a steady decline over the three year period and an impressive 50% reduction from the 78,029 high in 2006.
However, with deaths caused by drink-driving flatlining, there is still a long way to go in reducing this number further, which underlines the continued need for well targeted anti drink-drive campaigns.
The dangers of using a mobile phone might finally be sinking in to more drivers, with convictions for the offence of using or causing others to use a mobile phone whilst driving dropping by more than half in the past five years, from 32,404 in 2011 to 13,847 in 2016 - a reduction of over 57%.
One motoring offence which has been on the rise steadily since 2006 is ‘failing to supply information as to identity of driver when required.’
In 2006 there were 12,056 convictions but by 2016 this number had grown to a huge 82,029 guilty verdicts. This is most likely linked to increased forms of surveillance leading to more requests to confirm the identity of the driver.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “This will be good news indeed for motorists who have been concerned for a long time about the level of convictions for the most dangerous motorists.
“It also shows that the most serious motoring offences are being taken seriously by the courts – even though there is a long way to go an increased certainty of conviction might get some drivers out of the mindset of thinking they can get away with drink or drug driving or using a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel of a car.”
Notes to editors:
Further information from:
IAM RoadSmart press office – 020 8996 9777 – firstname.lastname@example.org
ISDN broadcast lines available
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/IAMRoadSmart
On Twitter: @IAMRoadSmart
IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.
To find out more about IAM RoadSmart products and services visit the new website www.iamroadsmart.com
To find out more about IAM RoadSmart’s Driver Retraining Academy visit www.iamdra.org.uk
To find out the name of your own local IAM RoadSmart group please visit: https://wwwiamroadsmart.com/local-groups