Brussels, 20 July 2010
Main findings of the road safety Eurobarometer
The Eurobarometer survey on road safety was conducted among more than 25,000 people aged 15 or over from all 27 Member States. This is a representative sample of EU citizens and the statistical results were weighted to correct for known demographic discrepancies.
Perceptions about the seriousness of road safety problems
People driving under the influence of alcohol was considered to be a major safety problem by 94% of EU citizens, followed by drivers exceeding speed limits (78%) and drivers/passengers not wearing seatbelts (74%).
In all Member States, except one, more than 8 in 10 interviewees felt that people driving under the influence of alcohol constituted a major road safety problem in their country.
The proportion of respondents who said that drivers exceeding speed limits constituted a major safety problem in their country ranged from 52% in Sweden to 94% in Cyprus. Although in some countries respondents were less likely to identify drivers who exceeded speed limits as a major safety problem, the proportion of respondents who said that this was not a problem in their country was 5% or less in all EU Member States.
Cypriot, Italian, French, Spanish and Greek respondents were more likely than others to regard drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts as a major safety problem in their country (84%-89%); in Ireland and Sweden, less than half of respondents felt that way (both 47%).
In about half of the Member States, at least three-quarters of respondents regarded people driving while talking on a hand-held mobile phone as a major safety problem in their country; Maltese, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish interviewees were the most likely to express this view (87%-90%). In all Member States, respondents were considerably less likely to say that people driving while talking on a hands-free mobile phone constituted a major road safety problem in their country.
The survey found a relationship between the perceived seriousness of a road safety problem and “concerned” respondents’ calls for their national government to do more to combat the issue. While drink-driving, for instance, was seen as the major road safety problem, it was also identified as the area that most needed extra attention from national governments. Similarly, people driving while talking on a hands-free mobile phone was considered less of a threat to road safety than the other issues listed and “concerned” respondents were also the least likely to say that their government should take more action to reduce the associated risks.
Measures that national governments should focus on to improve road safety
A slim majority of EU citizens (52%) said that road infrastructure safety should be improved as either a first or second priority. About 3 in 10 respondents (31%) answered that this should be the first measure that their government should focus on in order to improve road safety.
Improving the enforcement of traffic laws was the second most frequently selected measure that governments should concentrate on in order to enhance road safety: roughly 4 out of 10 respondents (42%) chose this measure as either a first or second priority for their government. Dealing equally forcefully with resident and foreign traffic offenders was selected by 36% of EU citizens as a measure that should be prioritised by government authorities.
Three in 10 respondents were of the opinion that their national government should initiate more road safety awareness campaigns as a priority action in order to improve road safety. About a quarter of EU citizens (26%) held the view that their government ought to assign priority, for all drivers, to the introduction of periodic driver re-training schemes in order to improve road safety.
As for the EU results overall, in a majority of Member States (18 out of 27), improving road infrastructure safety in their country was selected as either a first or second priority for government action by the largest proportion of respondents.
In Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Lithuania and Luxembourg, interviewees prioritised improving the enforcement of traffic laws over improving road infrastructure safety. Respondents in Austria, France and the Netherlands, on the other hand, gave more priority to measures to deal equally forcefully with resident and foreign traffic offenders.
The questions about road safety problems that should receive more attention from national governments were only presented to respondents who considered that a particular issue (such as drink-driving) was either a “major” or “minor” safety problem or who had not answered the question about that issue.