The AA has conducted a survey of nearly 7000 Irish motorists and the results show that most people feel that Irish driving standards have improved in the last ten years – but not by much.
AA Motorists’ Panel members were asked whether in their view the behaviour of car drivers, truck drivers, bus drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists had got better or worse in the last ten years. Overall the result was positive – most people felt that standards were better now. But the results were far from unanimous and many people felt that Irish drivers had got worse, not better.
43% of respondents felt that car drivers had improved in the last decade, but 37.5% said that they had got worse. 31.9% felt that truck drivers had improved, but 31.2% said they had not. 28.6% said that motorcyclists had improved, but 26.3% said not. Cyclists came out worst in the survey but again only marginally – 28.2% said their behaviour had got better but 30.9% said they had got worse.
“In overall terms, Irish road death numbers have improved greatly, and that’s the most important measure of all.” Says Director of Policy Conor Faughnan. “But there is no doubt that we have a long way to go. Our survey showed that Irish drivers still have lots of bad habits, and in terms of everyday discipline on the roads we do not compare well to other countries in Europe, even as our improving road safety record begins to match theirs. In fact foreign drivers in particular seem to find Irish driving behaviour to be poor, based on the comments that we received.”
In addition to the main findings, the AA Poll also yielded 894 detailed comments on Irish driving behaviour. Motorists complain of all sorts of crazy behaviour on the roads. The major issued raised were:
Cyclists’ behaviour rated worst in Dublin, where 38% of people felt their behaviour had worsened in the naughties while only 25.6% said they had improved.
“This is disappointing when we want to promote cycling in the cities.” Says Faughnan. “However we have to see it in context. Cycling numbers are up, which is a very good thing, and that means that more cyclists are visible on the streets so it is not much of a surprise that there are more complaints.”
“Most of our towns and cities still do not cater well enough for cyclists in terms of cycle lanes and facilities, and in fairness many of the comments from AA Panel members made this point.”
The same poll showed that 10.5% of motorists cycle regularly, and 2.7% do so on a daily basis. In Dublin, 12.7% of motorists are regular cyclists and 4.1% cycle on a daily basis.
The AA Motorists Panel Survey was carried out between 23rd July and 29th July. In total over 7,000 Irish motorists took part.