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Hibernian Motoring Report reveals Irish drivers are unhappy with road standards

30th March 2007

Download the Hibernian Motoring Report 2007 (2.5mb PDF)

Hibernian Insurance has today released the results of its first ever motoring report. The research, conducted amongst a representative sample of Irish drivers, revealed that not only does the population rely more than ever on their vehicles, but that there is a lack of faith in the public transport system and a feeling that while the individual driver considers themselves law abiding, they believe the majority of drivers on the roads are breaking driving laws.

The report was carried out to present the views of Irish motorists on a wide range of topics and to assess the trends, issues and attitudes prevalent amongst Irish motorists in 21st Century Ireland.

The report reveals the majority of the Irish motoring population drive every day. The average distance is 21,726km per annum - almost twice as far each year than the European average. Dependence on cars is stronger than ever with three quarters of drivers saying they could not function without their vehicle.

Work commutes account for 40% of all journeys. Despite gridlock and commuting distances, Irish drivers are not convinced of the benefits of car-pooling – three quarters of motorists say they have not even considered the concept. Most believe they simply have no choice but to use their car to get to work. Irish motorists seem to like spending time in their car alone with two thirds of respondents doing exactly that.

Despite regular traffic gridlock on the routes into Ireland’s major cities and towns, there is no great appetite among Irish drivers to get out of their cars and walk or cycle — or to use public transport. Approximately one third of motorists say they could walk or ride a bike to work, but opt not to do so.

Reasons behind this may be the lack of faith in our public transport system with one in seven citing it as too unreliable and half saying there are no public transport routes available to them.

The solution?

An overwhelming nine out of 10 Irish motorists believe the establishment of underground transportation for the main cities is the way forward in terms of reducing traffic congestion. Almost the same number of motorists believe increased number of trams in Dublin and also in other major cities would be beneficial. Another option would be to stagger school opening and closing times to spread the school run over the day which was backed by over half of respondents. Paying more money is a policy Irish motorists are dead against, with an overwhelming three out of four opposed to a congestion charge similar to London.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern commented: “Reports like the Hibernian Motoring Report provide valuable insights about driver behaviour. The report adds considerable weight to the discussions about road safety, commuting and public transport because the questions were asked of the motoring public.”

As well as looking at the attitudes of Irish drivers towards congestion, the report also looked at the issues of being a law abiding driver. Whilst individuals felt they were law-abiding, they believed the vast majority were not – not surprising when one third stated they felt they would not get caught even if they did break the law.

Aggressive behaviour seems to be prevalent – half of Irish motorists have experienced aggressive behaviour from other drivers in the past year and one quarter admitted to being aggressive themselves. Four in 10 drivers say that they are frustrated by other drivers’ behaviour on a daily basis and on average drivers express frustration at other road users’ behaviour more than three times a month.

Speeding is still identified as a problem with two thirds believing speed is the primary factor in road collisions. With more than 40% of fatal collisions caused by excessive or inappropriate speed the general consensus would be accurate. To that end, a solid majority, some 60%, believe that speed limits should be increased, while in contradiction, a minority, four in ten drivers, believe staying within the speed limit should not be the be-all and end-all of responsible driving and instead believe that driving at an undefined “safe speed” is more important than rigidly staying under the speed limit.

It’s no wonder with the increase in collisions on the Irish roads and apparent aggressive driver behaviour, that motorists are concerned with the cost of insurance. Motorists are significantly divided on the concept of insurance being directly linked to the amount of miles driven, with four in ten favouring it and three in ten against. Meanwhile, one in a third are in favour of satellite tracking on the basis that motorists should be taxed on the length of time on the road.

Generally, Irish respondents felt that the safety on Irish roads is considered poor (more than half) and that penalty points for a range of motoring offences has resulted in no discernible improvement to the standard of driving, with 12% going so far as to say road safety has deteriorated even further since penalty points have been introduced.

Dick O’ Driscoll, Managing Director, Hibernian commented: “This report shows that one of the biggest challenges ahead is improving safety on our roads – a concern for many motorists and a problem that has a major impact upon Irish society. As Ireland’s leading insurer, providing cover for 1 in 4 Irish motorists, we are confident the findings represent the views of many of our own customers. I believe Hibernian can contribute in a very positive way to the road safety debate and the work that public bodies are doing to find solutions to the motoring challenges that we as a nation face. We feel that by raising awareness levels, particularly in the area of driving behaviour, it will help us all to consider our own actions on the road.”

Notes to Editor

The Hibernian Report on Motoring: Attitudes to Motoring in Ireland: presents the analysis of a quantitative survey conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf Hibernian. Behaviour & Attitudes interviewed 500 motorists (defined as an individual who owned or had the regular use of a car ). Interviews were conducted over the telephone using CATI facilities (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) between the 5th — 29th October 2006. The sample was quota controlled by region. The demographic profile of these motorists was compared with the known demographic profile of motorists in the Republic of Ireland (sourced from national survey data). The CATI sample was a very close match and no further weighting was applied.

About Hibernian

  • Hibernian Group is Ireland’s largest composite insurer, ranked first for general insurance and top three for life and pensions.
  • Hibernian Group is a subsidiary of Aviva plc, the world’s fifth-largest insurance group and the UK’s largest insurance services provider (based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2005), and is one of the leading providers of life and pension products to Europe, with substantial positions in other markets around the world. Aviva employs 58,000 staff worldwide.
  • Aviva’s principal business activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £41.5 billion and assets under management of £364 billion at 31 December 2006.
  • Morley is the UK-based asset management business of Aviva plc. Firms within the Morley group of companies manage £169bn (€247bn) from offices around the world as at 30 April 2007.
  • With a strong track record in the property arena, Morley has seven European property funds focusing on a range of sectors and markets and over the last 24 months has acquired over 50 properties in 11 countries. These funds account for over €1.1bn of European assets under management.
  • In 2006 Morley Fund Management won two awards at the Central and Eastern European Real Estate Quality awards taking ‘Outstanding Company of the Year’ and ‘Investor of the Year’ for its Central European Property activities.
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  • The value of property investments is generally a matter of valuer’s opinion rather than fact. In addition, property investments may not always be readily saleable and very occasionally there may be constraints on cashing in units.
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