Road in London

Survey: The UK’s driving opinions

Here at Dayinsure, we are fascinated by all aspects of driving, especially in the UK. As of August 2019, almost 41 million of us hold full UK driver’s licenses, and in 2018 it was estimated that there are 1.21 cars/vans per household in the UK.

With so many people on our roads, there are bound to be a large range of opinions on everything from driverless vehicles to whether our speed limits are too low. In order to uncover the public’s opinion on 10 hard-hitting driving questions, we surveyed UK citizens to find out their views.

We asked:

The survey was conducted over a sample of 400 people from all areas of the UK and across a range of age brackets. In this article, we reveal our findings and the UK’s driving opinions. At the end of the article, you can also find our competition to win a travel coffee maker.

What are the UK’s driving opinions?

Explore the survey’s results using the interactive graphic below, and then read on to find out more about the findings.

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Should older people need to take another driving test later in life?

Nearly 90% of people believe that older people should be required to take another driving test | Dayinsure

This is a controversial topic among motorists. For a long time, there have been debates about whether enough is being done to ensure older people are safe on the roads. At present, when all drivers turn 70, they must renew their driving license with the DVLA and declare themselves still fit enough to drive. They must then do the same every three years thereafter. However, when we asked the public, nearly 90% of people said they believe that older people should also be required to take another driving test in later life.

Of all the questions we asked in this survey, this was the one that garnered the strongest reaction one way, with only 10.5% of those surveyed believing that later-life tests should not be mandatory. This indicates a clear message from the UK public, who want to see testing be brought in for older drivers behind the wheel. Older Drivers, a site created by RoSPA, offers information aimed to assist people in knowing when it’s time to retire from driving.

The UK driving test age should Be…

Over one third of people believe the minimum UK driving test age should be higher. | Dayinsure

Getting a driver’s licence is a huge moment in a person’s life and a rite of passage for many young people. Currently, you need to be 17 years old or over to take your driving test but is this too young? It’s fairly well accepted that younger drivers are more reckless on the road and we know from insurance costs that they are generally a bigger liability – hence the push for learners insurance. Well, when asked about the subject, over one-third of people said they believe the minimum UK driving test age should be higher than it currently is.

36.5% said that the driving test age should be increased but the majority opinion on the topic, 54.5%, is that the age should be kept at 17. Only a minuscule 9% of Brits think that the current driving test age should be lowered – indicating that there is little to no appetite among the general public for following laws similar to that of the USA, which allows slightly younger drivers to take their test, with some stipulations, depending on the state in question. A full list of minimum driving ages can be found here.

Should motorists who have been caught for drink-driving be disqualified for life?

Over half of people think drink-drivers should be disqualified for life | Dayinsure

Drink driving is, of course, one of the most serious issues facing our roads. We, therefore, wanted to get the public’s current views on the topic. Firstly, we asked the UK if motorists who have been caught drink-driving should be banned for life. Currently, the law doesn’t automatically disqualify first-time drink-drivers forever, but the survey indicates that over half of Brits think that if you are caught driving under the influence, you should never be allowed to drive again.

51% of respondents were in favour of a lifetime ban with 49% being against such a law. So, the survey suggests that the nation is clearly quite divided on the issue. At present, if you are in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit, this could result in three month’s imprisonment, a £2,500 fine, and only a possible driving ban. Drink Aware is a good resource for facts and advice on this issue.

Should the drink-drive limit be changed?

23% of people think the drink-drive limit should be increased | Dayinsure

Staying on the topic of drink driving, we also posed a question regarding the actual drink-drive limit. We asked if the current drink-drive limit should be… A) Lowered, B) Increased, or C) Kept the same. Interestingly, 23% of Brits think that the limit should be increased, raising the threshold for how much alcohol a driver can legally have in their system. 42% of respondents said that the limit should be lowered – indicating that a significant portion of the public believe limits should be stricter.

34% of Brits said that they thought the limit was fine as it currently sits. What are those limits? At present, there are strict drink-drive limits but the number of actual drinks the limit equates to is different for everyone. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the limit is 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, and 107 milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine.

Should human drivers be phased out in favour of autonomous vehicles?

Nearly a quarter of people believe human drivers should be phased out for autonomous vehicles | Dayinsure

In recent years there has been more and more talk about autonomous vehicles and their place on UK roads. Many people are sceptical about their effectiveness and others are concerned with the implications of placing potentially moral decisions in the hands of AI. We asked the public whether human drivers should eventually be phased out in favour of autonomous vehicles. Although over three-quarters of people believe they should not, nearly a quarter believe they should.

Currently, although vehicles with autonomous capabilities are allowed on UK roads, Government regulations state that “the driver of the car (an identifiable individual) has responsibility for the car and must remain in control of it.” However, in February of this year, the Government announced that a process has started being developed which will support the advanced trials of automated vehicles. This is in order to “meet its commitment to have fully self-driving vehicles on UK roads by 2021, as part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy.” So, in the near future, we will be seeing more of these vehicles on our roads.

Should non-electric cars become illegal?

A quarter of people think non-electric cars should become illegal | Dayinsure

Alongside autonomous vehicles, electric cars are a fairly new technology that is causing debate within the driving community. As the world continues to explore new ways to be more environmentally friendly, it’s no surprise that sales of all-electric vehicles are up 70% on 2018, according to the BBC. Despite the rise in popularity of these vehicles, only a quarter of people think that non-electric cars should become illegal.

As the current infrastructure is limited, even this number of people already backing the idea of a complete ban on petrol and diesel vehicles is something to pay attention to. And, although electric cars don’t offer the panacea for this issue, they certainly offer a vast improvement. As the UK Government aims to stop selling new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, it will certainly be intriguing to see how laws develop when the infrastructure is there to make buying and owning an electric car more manageable for all.

Are speed limits in the UK too low?

Over one third of people believe the UK speed limits are too low | Dayinsure

In the UK, a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or above usually applies on our roads, unless there are signs that state otherwise. Depending on the type of road and the type of car you are driving, the limits vary but is there a desire for change? The results of the survey show that not an insignificant number of Brits believe they should. We asked the public if the speed limits are too low and over one-third of UK residents, 32.25%, responded yes.

However, the vast majority of Brits think the current speed limits are just fine, with 67% saying ‘no’ to our question. In the UK, the national speed limits for non-towing cars, motorcycles, and vans is 30mph in built-up areas, 60mph on single carriageways, and 70mph on motorways and dual carriageways. How do our speeds compare to others? Well, on Germany’s motorways there are no limits unless indicated, and, as our recent study indicated, while Germany is the best European country to drive in it is less safe than the UK with slightly more fatalities per 100,000 people.

Brake – the road safety charity – is campaigning for lower speed limits on our roads and you can read more about their campaign here.

20’s Plenty for Us is a not-for-profit organisation that is pushing for a 20mph mandatory limit on residential and urban streets.

Should hands-free kits be illegal?

42% of people believe hand's free kits should be illegal | Dayinsure

It has been illegal to use a handheld phone at the wheel since 2003, but many people bypass this law by using hand’s free kits whilst driving. In recent month’s there has been a lot of discussion around whether hands-free kits should be made illegal after the Transport Select Committee advised that “evidence shows that using a hands-free device creates the same risks of crashing.” They also claimed that current laws gave a misleading impression that hands-free is safe despite it creating “the same risks of a collision.” We found that 42% of people believe hands-free kits should be illegal.

In August, the Independent reported that Labour MP Lilian Greenwood said: “There is a misleading impression that hands-free use is safe. The reality is that any use of a phone distracts from a driver’s ability to pay full attention, and the government should consider extending the ban to reflect this.” With 58% of people saying ‘no’ to our question, it will be interesting to see the public’s reaction should this go to Parliament as it appears to be a polarising topic.

Should it be compulsory for all motorists to install a dashcam in their vehicle?

The majority of people think it should be compulsory for all motorists to install a dashcam | Dayinsure

Looking at in-car technology, we also wanted to ask the public whether they believe it should be compulsory for all motorists to install dashcams in their vehicles. We found that the majority of people believe it should be compulsory. However, just under 40% of people took the other side, answering ‘no’.

Dashcam laws vary heavily around the world, especially around Europe where in some countries they are completely banned, so for those using temporary European insurance to travel it’s worth knowing the rules. Making dashcams mandatory would likely aid police investigations as all cars would be recording whilst on the move, capturing accidents and potentially even roadside crimes. However, many people argue that dashcams can also interfere with the right to privacy as people are being recorded without their consent. This Trusted Reviews help guide offers more in the way of information regarding dashcam laws.

Should cyclists be allowed on the road?

17% of people believe cyclists should be banned from the roads | Dayinsure

Finally, we made sure to ask a question on the age-old topic of cyclists on the road. We all know how passionate people can be about cyclists and if they should or should not be allowed on the roads with motor vehicles. So, we put a very simple question forward to the British public: ‘Should cyclists be allowed on the road?’ Well, taking a very strong stance on the subject, 17% of UK residents said, no, cyclists should be banned from our roads.

While this is a number not to be dismissed, it is clear that Brits are strongly in favour of cyclists being allowed on the road with a whopping 82% being pro-bicycle. So, for all the complaining and grumbling about those pesky cyclists and the danger they pose, Brits would rather have them out there with our cars, vans, and lorries than pushed away somewhere else. For those interested in the welfare of bike riders, Cycling UK campaign to make roads safer for them.

Competition! Enter to win a travel coffee maker

We are giving one lucky reader a chance to win a travel coffee maker. To enter the competition and be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is fill in the simple entry form below before 16th December 2019.

The UK’s driving opinions revealed

The UK's Driving Opinion Infographic - Dayinsure

As you can see, there are some pretty interesting opinions out there from those driving in the UK, from increasing drink-driving limits and implementing driving tests for older people to serious questions on the future of autonomous vehicles. Of course, opinions are always changing with new data being released and technology progressing, so it will be interesting to see how much the UK’s driving opinions change in the years ahead.

We hope you entered the above competition for your chance to win a travel coffee maker and found the results of this survey as interesting as we did! For more fascinating and helpful guides, make sure to visit our news page.

READ MORE: Winners of the 2020 staycation trend

To make sure you stay safe on the roads, even for one-off excursions, secure yourself some temp insurance for your car and attain complete peace of mind.