Tough economic times and increased insecurity have an indirect impact on the standard of safe driving. While we don’t have any data on how this impacts South African drivers, we can deduce that the results, especially those with regard to speeding, will not be dissimilar to those in developed countries.
A survey of motorists in Britain, France, Germany and Spain conducted by Mix Telematics reveals 63% of drivers admit to speeding while driving to work. More than a third (34%) admit they speed every week.
When asked why they do it, the most common responses include keeping up with traffic flow (53%). Another is pressure to meet schedules (37%). Companies expect greater productivity from individuals and obviously don’t always consider its undesirable consequences.
In terms of where drivers speed, more than 40% of all drivers who admit to speeding while driving for work say they do so on motorways, main roads and in urban areas.
There were, however, some significant differences among these drivers. British drivers are most likely to speed on motorways (63%) and drivers in Germany on main inter-urban roads. Drivers in France and Spain report that the likelihood of them speeding is approximately equal regardless of the type of road upon which they are travelling.
Overall, drivers in the survey believe there’s only a small chance of serious consequences for exceeding the speed limit. Of the consequences, drivers report that being stopped by the police is the most likely.
Across the four countries, causing harm to others and causing harm to myself were rated at just 14% and 13% respectively. This is slightly behind ‘losing my driving licence’, which scored 16%.
In terms of fines for drivers exceeding the speed limit over the past 12 months, truck drivers led the way with 17% receiving penalties. This is compared to 14% of van drivers, 12% of bus and coach drivers and 9% of passenger vehicle drivers. In most cases, the driver is far more likely to pay the fine than his or her employer. The only exception is with bus and coach drivers where the split is 50/50.
In terms of the country in which speeding fines are most commonly handed out, Britain leads the way. They narrowly trump Spain, France and Germany, in that order.
Of the survey respondents that admitted to speeding while driving to work, a significant proportion of both men and women appear to be unaware of the dangers of speeding. Although, almost twice as many men (29% vs 17%) state they believe they can drive safely while speeding.
In the analysis by country, only 20% of all drivers in Germany do not speed while driving for work. Drivers in Spain claim to be the most well-behaved, with 40% saying they never exceed the speed limit. Drivers in Britain came a close second. Up to 39% say they never speed, while French drivers recorded a score of 34% in this respect.
“The knowledge that two-thirds of drivers in Britain, France, Germany and Spain routinely speed while going about their employer’s business is a concern to companies in each of these countries,” says Steve Coffin, marketing and operations director for Mix Telematics (Europe).
“Our survey also finds that more than three-quarters of all drivers – 77% – receive no training whatsoever related to speeding while driving for work. Of the 23% of drivers who receive training, the majority are truck or bus and coach drivers. Within this group, 82% state that their training has a positive influence on their driving behaviour,” says Coffin.
A majority reported that they are now more conscious of their speed as well as their acceleration, braking and gear-changing. This results in smoother driving experiences. In addition, 33% report avoidance of excessive idling.
Valid reasons for companies to review their attitude toward these challenges and how they deal with them.
Till next time drive safe and don’t speed.
By Eugene Herbert