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Are New Zealanders Bad Drivers?

26 April 2002

In a surprise result, the Automobile Association’s latest member survey ranks ‘Driver Behaviour’ as motorists’ top concern. In fact, it is more than twice as much a concern as congestion and safety, which are currently higher profile issues. When asked to choose their top three concerns out of a list of ten, two out of three AA members chose driver behaviour, one in three chose congestion and one in four chose safety.

Further, when asked their top safety concern, four out of five chose ‘how safely people drive’.

New Zealander’s level of concern about driver behaviour was twice as high as results in a similar survey of European motorists (undertaken in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Britain).

“This raises questions about whether driver behaviour in New Zealand is up to international standards,” says George Fairbairn.

But while people are very concerned about other people’s driving, nearly 9 out of 10 were confident their own driving was safe.

Mr Fairbairn suggests that this poses an issue.

“How do we change the “it’s not me” mentality, and develop a much greater awareness that all road users have to share the road considerately with others?”

The Association advocates more research into exactly what behaviours concern motorists most, together with more funding allocated for driver education and targeted at the average driver. Research shows that modelling good behaviour is much more effective than focussing on bad behaviour.

“To reinforce the message of good driving attitudes we need a positive road safety advertising campaign that shows drivers how to behave safely, courteously and with tolerance in a wide range of situations”, Mr Fairbairn urged.


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