press release - Fondation Vinci Autoroutes


press release - Fondation Vinci Autoroutes
1 April 2015
2015 European Barometer on Responsible Driving
How do the British behave behind the wheel?
The VINCI Autoroutes Foundation for Responsible Driving has released the results of a vast Ipsos survey of
driver behaviour in ten European Union countries. First carried out in France five years ago and extended to
include other European countries two years ago, this responsible driving barometer gives an annual snapshot of
driver behaviour and how it is evolving. Do British drivers see road violence as inevitable? What sort of drivers
do they see themselves and others as? What good driving habits do they display or on the contrary what is their
risky behaviour?
Optimism about reducing road violence flagging
51% of British drivers consider that the number of people killed could be further reduced quite significantly in the
coming years, 4 points less than the 55% for the other 9 countries surveyed. But they are the only ones who are more
optimistic than a year ago (up 2 points). In the other countries, drivers are more pessimistic: an increasing number of
them consider it will be difficult to lower the number of fatalities: a particularly strongly held view in Germany (58%),
Greece (57%) and Poland (53%).
British drivers are stressed but courteous
British drivers give themselves an average score of 7.8/10 when questioned about their driving behaviour, which is very
close to the 7.7/10 figure for the other nine countries surveyed. When they describe their own attitude behind the
wheel, almost all British drivers (97%) use at least one positive adjective: “careful” (74%), “courteous” (48%, compared
with the 26% average for the other countries), and “calm” (41%). However, 13% of them also say they are stressed, the
highest figure in Europe. When asked to describe the behaviour of other drivers, the British are clearly less forgiving:
they deem them to be “irresponsible” (47%), “aggressive” (36%), “stressed” (26%) and even “dangerous” (23%). Even so,
19% recognise their compatriots are “courteous”, which simply confirms the good impression they have overall of their
fellow British drivers.
Europeans are unanimous in considering the Swedish are the model drivers (37%), ahead of the Germans (27%). The
British come in third with 11%, level pegging with the Dutch. At the opposite end of the scale, they consider the least
responsible are the Italians (31%) and the Greeks (20%).
Breaking the rules and dangerous behaviour on the rise in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe
 92% of British drivers admit they sometimes exceed the speed limit by a few kilometres/hour (up 3 points from
2014), compared with 91% for the other European drivers surveyed.
 63% fail to keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead (up 5 points), compared with 65% for the other European
drivers surveyed.
 59% forget to indicate when overtaking or turning (up 7 points), compared with 58% for the other European
drivers surveyed.
 56% forget to slow down around road works (up 5 points), compared with 55% for the other European drivers
 55% drive in the outside lane on the motorway even though the inside lane is empty (up 5 points), compared
with 56% for the other European drivers surveyed.
Driver rudeness: fairly widespread and relatively stable in the United Kingdom but worsening in the rest of
 54% of British drivers admit they sometimes swear at other drivers (unchanged on 2014), compared with 56%
for the other European drivers surveyed.
 40% overtake on the left on the motorway (up 2 points), compared with 32% for the other European drivers
 36% sound their horn excessively (-1 point), compared with 47% for the other European drivers surveyed.
 26% tailgate drivers who annoy them (down 3 points), compared with 32% for the other European drivers
 9% get out their car to argue with another driver (unchanged), compared with 15% for the other European
drivers surveyed.
Telephoning and driver drowsiness: identified risks but failure to act responsibly
Telephoning while driving: fewer British drivers tend to use their telephone while driving compared with the other
countries in the study but the figure is still worryingly high: 37% of drivers say they use a hands-free kit when
telephoning while driving (up 2 points since 2014), compared with 51% for the other nine countries, and 16% admit to
telephoning without a hands-free kit (up 1 point), compared with 35%. British drivers are also less likely to read or send
texts or emails while driving (15% compared with 26%). On the other hand, more than one third (37%, up 6 points) admit
to adjusting their GPS settings without pulling over.
Driver drowsiness: 33% of British drivers consider they can drive even if tired, a little above the 31% average for the
other countries surveyed. In the United Kingdom, a majority of drivers are also convinced that you can prevent yourself
from falling asleep at the wheel by talking with a passenger (79%), opening the window (77%) or listening to the radio
(62%). Additionally, nearly one out of five British drivers (18%) admit they have dozed off at the wheel for a couple of
On long trips, they say they stop after driving for two hours and 55 minutes on average, which is above the maximum
two hours recommended by the VINCI Autoroutes Foundation for Responsible Driving, and they are relatively
irresponsible when it comes to taking breaks. While 65% of British drivers say they change drivers, only 51% say they
break their journey to have a nap, one of the lowest figures in Europe, just behind Greece (36%).
Method: For this overview of European driving habits, Ipsos carried out an Internet survey between 8 and 19 January 2015, on a sample of over
10,000 Europeans including 1,002 French, 1,007 Germans, 1,007 Belgians, 1,003 Spanish, 1,007 British, 1,002 Italians and 1,006 Swedes, 1,004
Poles, 1,007 Dutch and 1,002 Greeks. The quota method was used to ensure the representativeness of each national sample.
About the VINCI Autoroutes Foundation for Responsible Driving
Created in February 2011, the VINCI Autoroutes Foundation for Responsible Driving is a laboratory, observatory and source of information
specifically focused on improving road safety. It aims to help bring about changes in driver behaviour and to encourage drivers to contribute to
their own safety and to that of other road users. Its actions include: information campaigns to raise awareness of road risks; funding for innovative
scientific research in certain areas of risky driver behaviour that have not been sufficiently explored or are poorly identified by road users; and
finally to fund initiatives by non-profit associations or citizen initiatives aimed at encouraging responsible driving. (In French only) and
Press contacts:
Estelle Ferron, tel. +33 (0)6 34 99 33 61, [email protected]
Jessica Lefébure, tel. +33 (0)6 29 94 59 87, [email protected]
VINCI Autoroutes Foundation for Responsible Driving
12 rue Louis Blériot - 92500 Rueil-Malmaison Cedex - France