Which motoring issue would YOU sort out first?

20 Dec, 2012 3:50pm

Tell us which motoring issue we should tackle first in 2013 by voting here

It’s been a tough few years for Britain’s drivers. The cost of motoring has soared with fuel prices, car insurance and road tax all increasing by hefty amounts. To add to that, parking and speed enforcement are now so widespread – and so unrelentingly strict – that fines have almost become a tax, too. Who hasn’t been caught out by an overzealous warden after parking in a bay for just a few minutes too many? Or picked up a speeding fine for straying just a few mph over the limit?

You’d think that with the vast sums of money that motorists contribute to the Treasury that the Government would be keen to keep us on side. And yet somehow, that’s just not the case. You don’t have to spend long on the nation’s roads to see that they’re in a shocking state of disrepair, and that nowhere near enough money is spent on their upkeep.

It’s also glaringly obvious that there aren’t enough coppers on our highways. It’s all too common to see illegal behaviour – like using a mobile phone at the wheel – pass without consequence. And it seems as though a range of bad habits – like middle lane hogging on motorways – have just been accepted as standard driving technique.

Obviously things need to change. There has to be a fair deal for motorists. And we want to know which issue you think needs to be tackled first. We'll then start lobbying on your behalf.

This poll is now closed.

The shortlist

Fuel prices – they’re too high, the Government should prioritise freezing duty until the end of this Parliament.

Potholes – our roads are in a state, job one is to increase investment in repair and maintenance.

Speed cameras – should not be used as a means of generating revenue, but to cut casualty rates on high-risk roads.

Car insurance – prices are unreasonable. Immediate action should be taken to make premiums more affordable.

Parking – enforcement is out of control, limits should be imposed on how much councils can fine drivers.

Road tax – keeps going up and CO2 bands keep changing. We need more transparency.

Speed limits – are out of date and unrealistic. Motorway limits should be revised.

Road safety – fatalities are increasing. The Government needs to reintroduce targets and increase safety budgets.

Driving with a mobile phone – a rapidly growing problem. We need an ad campaign to change attitudes.

Motorway driving – standards are poor. There should be more education about correct usage of lanes.

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It's a bit unfair making us pick just one of those issues.

Potholes, Petrol Prices and Insurance are my top 3.

Easy one, SPEEDING! Which I guess would come under road safety, I would actually increase the number of speed cameras a lot too but in 20, 30 and 40 zones, because these are the ares it appears to have become socially UNACCEPTABLE in which to drive at the set speed limit. Personally I prefer to have mobile speed traps, and a hell of a lot more Police on the roads, keep hitting speeders with fines and they'll soon get the message. As a bonus I would increase motorway speed limits to 80 or 85 but would also change the driving test to include as mandatory, a motorway safety test. I would also change laws so lorry drivers both domestic and foreign are heavily penalised for not driving as per their rest and drive hours. I think foreign companies should be heavily fined as well as the lorry drivers.

And the other thing I would change is petrol prices. I would slash them to £1 and then drop further from there!

I completly agree with you, but i would say Insurance first (my insurance has gone up every bloody year i feel like ncb are just for show), Petrol prices and then potholes (since i drive around these):P

All camera profit and court fines for driving offences should go straight back into the roads budget.

I too would go for speeding, reduce in built up areas through traffic calming measures, get rid of all speed cameras except average speed cameras through roadworks, increase speed limits on motorways and dual carraigeways to at least 85mph and confine all lorries and vans to the inside two lanes only.

I agree about speeding but is it only in Lancashire that the police have a fondness for having speed traps just before a 30 mph road becomes a 60 ? I thought they had to be in areas that had a high accident rate

Reintroduce the 85th percentile method of speed limit setting,scrapped by the last government. Current guidelines criminalising 50% of drivers by setting them at the mean speed of traffic are plain wrong. The 85th percentile is scientifically proven to minimise accidents and maximise compliance which is why it served so well for so long. It should be reintroduced and made compulsory. Some limits would go up, some would go down but most important they would relate to the road. With correctly set limits all the arguments about cameras and enforcement would go away. If Cameron solved this he would win the next election. But I doubt he has even heard of 85th percentile and his D(a)fT advisors won't be telling him.

My insurance has come down each year but is still stupid :(

Driving standards in general!

Seriously, no point tackling speed cameras, etc until the selfish idiots who can't indicate, hog lanes, use mobiles are dealt with. Then maybe people would spot the big bright yellow boxes and not be caught by them as a start.

But it'll never catch on as it'd require the police to put a bit of thought and effort rather than just pointing a laser gun at cars and looking at numbers!

Speeding isn't the problem, it's driver training and common sense as to matching your speed to the conditions.

For example, when driving back from work at gone 11pm, why should I have to drive at the same 30mph through the speed cameras as I do when the schools have finished? When the kids are out it should be 20mph tops, while at very quiet times it can be raised to 40mph+ without much of a problem.

I genuinely think that variable speed limits as on some motorways are the way forward. Then when it is snowy and speed limits are reduced, people are forced to slow down , at least in speed camera locations near school etc. Makes sense!

Another one of my issues with speed cameras is that (especially on downhill or uphill sections where it is more tricky to balance the throttle/braking) many people are forced to spend more time watching the speedometer to make sure they don't stray a couple of mph over than they are looking at the road.

Mobile cameras should have some form of warning as it causes people to brake suddenly even when driving at the speed limit because it's a natural reaction if you haven't looked at the speedometer for a short while.

Also - why is it that it is illegal to flash other motorists to warn them to slow their speed? - Are the vans there to create revenue or cut road deaths? Flashing slows cars down and makes it less of a panic when you see one.

Fuel duty should be cut considerably. Why? Because by cutting fuel costs, you put more money in the pockets of families to go and spend on days out, meals and shopping. This keeps businesses (hopefully tax-paying UK businesses :P) afloat (or thriving), creating more jobs and reducing poverty. It won't solve all the problems in the world, but the government doesn't understand that losing out on some tax revenue is likely to have a multiplier effect and benefit the economy in the medium-long term.

Road tax is ridiculous. I pay £200 a year to keep a supermini on the road. Yet, my car is thudding over more and more bumps and pot holes all the time. I WILL be sending an invoice to the council if my car is damaged, if for nothing else than to prove a point. At least until the roads are in a safe state, all road tax funding should be reinvested into the roads OR councils should be made more accountable by allowing people to make reasonable claims against them for poorly maintained roads.

Insurance is just too high, and (though I'm sure many will know far more than me) seems a collusive industry. If there were to be a budget insurance brand that covered everything the average customer needed and decent customer service for just 20%+ less than the nearest competitor, everyone would flock to them. Think we need an Indian businessman for this (let's face it, they're the best in the world for this type of thing).

Okay, I'm done now I think... Glad I got this off my chest.

U r very lucky... Mine gone up 2 years in a row, leading me to sell the car and a smaller engine:S

Road safety - deaths on the road were up - but if you actually look at the figures the rise was made up almost only in an increase in pedestrian casualties. Speed cameras SHOULD be used to generate revenue, but the money should go back to the council to be exclusively spent on road safety measures, not the big central pot, this would incentives councils to actually run speed cameras, at the moment they pay to run them but don't get the money. This way the offenders would be helping solve the problem.

Make using a mobile phone for any purpose while a vehicle is moving absolutely illegal. Priority ONE, TWO and THREE!!!

I would like to know why Auto Express gives Vauxhall such a hard time! :)

All off-road parking should be absolutely free. Long-term on-road parking to be completely stopped by 2023. Roads are for traffic, not parking.
Also centralisation of schools, hospitals, doctors surgeries forces more traffic onto the roads, then motorists get taxed more for congesting the road system! So either acknowledge this and spend more money on new or better roads or re-open rural and suburbian schools, hospitals etc.

Plenty more I can think of on top of the list but l vote for fuel prices, they drive the economy. I agree that insurance is major too but always has been hard to afford a first car. It would be good to see new drivers given a break, and penalise them only when they do claim, so £750 for the first year, smash it (your fault) and you have a £2000 excess minimum.

Fuel wise, I remember driving out to different places much more then we do now, because of fuel prices. Yes other things have gone up with inflation but a simple day out at the coast, I can take food with me from home, but getting there is so much more expensive. If it was substantially less, say 80p a litre I would be out so much more and probably spending more on tourism. I'm sure I'd still spend the same with tax going back to the systems but would be happier in the process :)

A shame we had to only pick one. It would have been better to ask for 1st, 2nd and 3rd - and also ask readers to name other issues that concern them not listed. Regarding the latter, mine would have been cracking down on able-bodied drivers who park in Blue Badge spaces.

Well I picked fuel prices/taxation but would have liked ALL motoring taxation to be included, don't forget Gordon Brown was allowed to change the Road Fund License to Vehicle Exise duty in a renaming exercise with no opposition.
Reversing this stupid decision would at least show where the money for road repairs/improvements SHOULD be coming from even if our somewhat less than competent politicians cannot see the wood for the trees.
Road safety budgets have already been substantially abused by the slow it down brigade such as Brake and others, just look at the comments by appoloa for an indication of what I mean.
The fact is that the vast majority of drivers have never had any instruction on fast or motorway driving beyond the basic instruction for their driving test and this urgently needs rectification, THEN we can see what difference has been made.

Insurance . Not only cost but they should standardize NCB. Joined current company with full (18yrs) no accidents, left year later with 5yrs as that was their maximum they do! So I lost 13yrs NCB for not having an accident!

None of the above! - I would do something about masking the other side of a motorway (fence / bushes in central reservation) to stop congestion when an incident is occurring on the other carriageway. This would probably cut motorway delays by 50% or more.

Why can't the results to date be seen when voting?

Abolish road tax and put up fuel tax to compensate. Simple ! The people who drive high emission/low mpg vehicles would pay more through fuel tax than those who drive low emission/high mpg vehicles.
This would also save the cost of administering road tax.
Simple !

I agree with others that being able to pick a 1st 2nd & 3rd would have been a better reflection of readers opinions.

I would have said petrol prices first - but it is not just about freezing tax hikes, although that is important. We need the same level of scrutiny and pressure applied to petrol companies as is being applied to the banks. Someone in government needs to address once and for all why prices never seem to come down as quickly when oil prices fall and also why diesel is cheaper than petrol in most European countries except uk. That would also benefit businesses, which in turn would boost economy.

Secondly I would address mobile phone usage whilst driving. You only have to look around you to realise how much the mobile has become part of our lives, with many people almost becoming addicted to checking messages etc. I don't think it is realistic for this habit to suddenly go away when someone is driving and the temptation to see who has just messaged them is too much for some people. So, I think we need to make using a mobile when driving as socially, and legally, unacceptable as drink driving. Yes I would have a public awareness campaign to change attitudes but I would also introduce an automatic ban of 12 months for a first offence, 24 months ban for a second offence etc. the deterent effect has largely worked for drink driving and this is the only way of changing behaviours quickly.

My third choice is harder. On balance I would go for insurance and investigate them in the same way as petrol companies suggestion above.

The one I honk is missing from the last is driver training and licensing. How many more years are we going to tolerate so many of our young people dying or being seriously injured? I can't think of any other type of high powered machine where we would let a 17 year old off into the world on their own without at least some form of training or assessment. It is time the driving test became graduated. The first test should entitle you to drive on the roads and in the circumstances where you have been trained I.e. town and country roads BUT not motorways. You should then have a maximum of 24 months to train and b assessed to drive on motorways. That second test should be longer and if the standard of driving either on normal roads or motorways was found to be lacking the driver should have a maximum of 3 months to take further training and pass their extended test or go back to provisional status. This would ensure new drivers get training and assessment on all road types and frankly would sift out these who scraped through their test on probably shouldn't have. Fundamentally though I am scared at how many people cannot drive safely on motorways but then is it any wonder when they have had no training?

If I was allowed a fourth option it would be parking. I am less worried about over zealous enforcement. If I shouldn't have parked there I can't complain if net a ticket. My complaint is more about the lack of clear information at the point of parking. The only time I have had a parking ticket in 35 years of driving was on a single yellow line in London on a Sunday. Why? Because I was apparently in a Controlled Parking Zone. What that meant was that I apparently passed one sign a few miles ago with the relevant information on it but as I did not notice that (partly because it was on a busy junction and we all know how many other things you have to watch out for when driving in the capital, especially when you don't live there) there was no requirement on the local authority to give me that information again at the point of parking. So I would either ban CPZs or at least say that the information has to be available/repeated to give motorists a fighting chance of parking legally. Oh, and I would clamp and crush any car parked in a disabled parking space without a Blue Badge. I am eternally grateful I currently have my health but it does wind me up when I see able bodied drivers skipping away from their cars after parking in these spaces. This is especially true in large supermarkets where they seem to assume the shops are more interested in getting their money than whether they have inconvenienced others.

Right, I am done now!

Whoops, slight typo in fifth paragraph. I do of course "think" not "honk". Well, sometimes I honk too but that is a different story!