Older drivers more environmentally aware, says report

Older motorists are more environmentally aware than their younger counterparts, according to a report issued today.

The 2008 Motoring Report, issued by insurance company Hibernian revealed that the group that seems most likely to be environmentally conscious are those over 50, with 31% of this group saying they think about emissions “often” - as opposed to just 15% of the under 36 group who said so.

“This appears to fly in the face of popular perceptions of younger people being more environmentally conscious overall,” said Hibernian Insurance managing director Dick O’Driscoll.

A quarter of motorists think about carbon emissions from their car “frequently” and some 37% of motorists think about it at least occasionally. Quite surprisingly,

Among the 61% of motorists who do consider the environment, there does appear to be some attempt towards actions. Some 38% of these people claim that they are walking or cycling more, while as many as three in 10 claim that they are driving less often.

A further one in five claim that they have purchased a car with a smaller engine size along with a similar proportion who are using environmentally friendly fuel. It was found that 17% of respondents have also claimed switching to public transport as their main method of getting around.

Other key findings in the Hibernian Motoring Report relate to motorists’ attitudes towards the law in terms of driving with a provisional licence. Only 10% of provisional licence holders said that they always drive with a fully licensed driver and never on their own with just 20% saying they did so “most of the time”.

Some 43% either never drove accompanied by a fully licensed driver or hardly ever did and 17% of respondents believed that learner drivers should be allowed to drive unaccompanied at all times.

Furthermore 10% of motorists and almost 20% of younger drivers (under 35 years) admitted to having driven while under the influence of recreational drugs.

Almost 70% believe that the introduction of safety cameras has had a positive impact on road safety and 63% say that the use of speed cameras should be increased to enforce speed limits.

The report also shows that Ireland’s drivers blame ‘other’ road users rather than accepting some personal responsibility themselves for some of the problems on our roads.

When asked if they see themselves as law abiding 93% said yes. Yet half of drivers aged under 35 and one third of drivers aged over 35 admitted to speeding most days.

“The results of this year’s Hibernian Motoring Report show welcome improvements in attitudes toward speeding, drink driving and positive driving behaviours generally,” said Dick O’Driscoll, managing director of Hibernian Insurance.

“For many years motorists have regarded drink driving as the scourge of Irish roads. However, the Hibernian research suggests that motorists are starting to get the message never to drink and drive, with 78% of motorists saying that they would never drink any alcohol and drive afterwards. Very significantly, this rises to 85% among those under 35 falling back to three quarters amongst those over this age.

“The issue of drink driving limits does suffer from a lack of clarity with many motorists unaware of what exactly the drink driving limits are. Only 21% of respondents could correctly identify the number of milligrams of alcohol per litre of blood (80mgs/100ml) that is allowed. One third of respondents nominate a figure that is higher than the correct amount and 22% identify a figure that is lower than the correct amount.”

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