It is believed throughout the UK that road safety can directly be affected by the condition and structure of the roads. The shift in British attitudes claims that when the roads are constructed to a high standard then there will be fewer accidents and deaths.
Twenty years ago, British people believed that improved driving skills and pedestrian road knowledge were the top improvements for road safety.
How road safety attitudes have changed in the last 20 years
According to confused.com public opinions have changed dramatically over the last twenty years towards road safety. Here are some examples of how people's attitudes have altered. Number 10 is the lowest score, and number 1 is the highest.
- The improvement in roads ranked 10 in 1993 compared to 1 in 2013.
- Tougher driver and pedestrian education ranked 9 in 1993 compared to 2 in 2013.
- Improvement in law towards total drinking and driving ban ranked 1 in 1993 compared to 3 in 2013.
- Progression in random breathalysing tests ranked 3 in 1993 compared to 4 in 2013.
- Development in public transport ranked 7 in 1993 compared to 5 in 2013.
- Harsher and tougher driving tests ranked 4 in 1993 compared to 6 in 2013.
- Severe law enforcements and ruthless penalties ranked 2 in 1993 compared to 7 in 2013.
- Black spot warning signs ranked 5 in 1993 compared to 8 in 2013.
- Priority for cyclists and more cycling lanes ranked 6 in 1993 compared to 9 in 2013.
- Passenger restriction ranked 12 in 1993 compared to 10 in 2013.
Road safety law enforcement changes
Breathalyser tests have consistently remained quite equal. However, more severe laws and harsher penalties for being caught drink or drug driving have completely changed. Another strong change over the last 20 years in road safety is the law enforcement for wearing seat belts. Prior to 1993, forty percent of motorists refused to wear seat belts. Since the laws have become increasingly strict every motorist and passenger today uses them. In fact, my Peugeot 407 estate will play a loud ever increasing annoying sound the longer you leave the seatbelt disconnected once you begin your journey.
The introduction of mobile phones became every motorist's curse. If you have never used a mobile device to phone or text while driving, then you have probably been a witness to the act ten times over with other motorists. Many lives have been lost over the years because of motorists using a mobile phone while driving. Phoning and texting at the same time as driving is worse than drink driving. Drivers become disorientated, their reactions are slower; speed control is more difficult and changing lanes or going around a roundabout is virtually impossible. Statistics prove that motorists phoning or texting are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident compared not to using a mobile device. During December 2003, a new legislation was imposed making it illegal for motorists to operate a mobile device while driving. Today, people are still willing to take risks; especially the younger generation but there are now heavy consequences if you’re caught. There is an instant fine of £60, and an automatic fixed penalty of three points added to motorist's licences. Furthermore, if your case is taken to court, you could incur a driving disqualification and an additional £1,000 fine.
The introduction of tougher MOT rule's March 2013 also created a stir among motorists. MOT's were already quite hard-hitting financially to motorists; however, the increased checks on vehicles will have a knock-on-effect to better improved road safety. Over the last 20 years, cars have become more sophisticated; all motorists, including females and young drivers now have to become mini experts in solving mechanical issues. With the extensive information now available online, this endeavour is not an impossible task.
Over the years, the public has strongly opposed the introduction of new laws. Their introduction has proven beneficial and has saved countless accidents and lives.
Although motorists have always been in opposition to new laws, it stands to reason that the changes have been advantageous.