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Zurich Road Safety ReportZurich Road Safety ReportIntroduction 2Our Research 3The findings 3Recognising Regulatory 3 Traffic SignsWarning Traffic Signs 4Information signs 5Road markings 5Sign related information 6Perceived Levels of Knowledge 6 vs. Reality Conclusion 71IntroductionAs a leading provider of motor insurance in Ireland, Zurich places a strong emphasis on road safety and in particular the need for improvement in the behaviour and attitude of road users. Ireland’s record for road safety has improved considerably in recent years with the number of fatalities fal ing significantly. Greater social awareness of the importance of road safety, the introduction of the driver theory test in 2001 and an extensive penalty points system, are all helping make Irish roads a much safer place. Significant investment in the infrastructure of Irish roads over the past decade has seen large sections of Ireland’s road network upgraded, with improvements to traffic flow but also traffic management through better road signage and road markings. Zurich wanted to find out just how well road users know their traffic signs and road markings and recently commissioned iReach Market Research to undertake a study on its behalf. 2Our ResearchiReach used both an online survey and a consumer panel to ascertain the level of understanding of roads signs, road markings and sign related information. Respondents came from a wide demographic, were 46% male and 54% female and all 18+, with the largest group coming from the 25-34 age group (30%), fol owed by the 35-44 age group (26%), the 45-54 age group (21%), the 18-24 age group (12%) and final y the 55+ age group made up 11%.The majority of respondents had a full driving license (76%) and 80% of those asked had more than 6 years of driving experience, with the largest group coming from drivers with between 11 and 20 years driving experience.41% of respondents reported that they had a good knowledge of road markings and signs prior to the test, with 35% saying they had average knowledge and 24% claiming an excel ent knowledge. Nobody admitted to having either a very poor or poor knowledge of road markings and signs.Respondents were tested on three types of signage. These were: regulatory traffic signs, warning traffic signs and information signs. They were also tested on road markings and general sign related information. The findingsRecognising Regulatory Traffic SignsRegulatory signs are traffic signs that instruct road users on what they must or should do (or not do) under a given set of circumstances. They are there to indicate or reinforce traffic laws, regulations or requirements that apply at all times or at specified times or places.Key Points• Recognising and identifying regulatory traffic signs was not a major problem for the respondents, although just 60% got all of the questions right.• The 18-24 age group performed best at recognising regulatory traffic signs.• The worst performing group were those aged 45+ who got just 47% of the signs correct.3Recognising and identifying regulatory traffic signs wasn’t a major problem for respondents, with 60% getting all of the questions right while 40% answered at least one of the 6 questions incorrectly. Males performed slightly better than females in this test with 62% of them getting al the signs correct as opposed to 58% of the females. Not having a full license wasn’t necessarily a handicap when it came to this test either. Those on a provisional license also performed well with 75% of them getting all the regulatory traffic questions correct.Also interesting is that the group which is considered the most ‘at risk’ group, those aged 18-24 performed better than other age groups with 71% of them getting all the signs correct. The worst performing group was those aged 45+ who got just 47% of the regulatory signs al correct. Related to this, the group with the least amount of driving experience, those with 1-5 years of driving experience, performed best at recognising and identifying regulatory traffic signs with 69% of this group getting all the correct answers. This was fol owed by those with 6-10 years of driving experience who got 65% of the signs correct. Performance on this task was inversely proportional to driving experience, with those with more than 40 years of driving experience performing worst when it came to recognising regulatory traffic signs. Just 38% of this group managed to identify all of the signs correctly.Across the country, the midlands based urban centres performed best fol owed by Dublin and Limerick. It is possible that this is due to more direct access to Ireland’s new motorway network. Cork drivers performed worst fol owed by drivers in Waterford.Warning Traffic SignsFor most respondents the main difficultly occurred when it came to identifying warning traffic signs. Warning traffic signs are signs that indicate a hazard ahead on the road that may not be readily apparent to a driver. Just 25% of the respondents identified all the signs correctly with 75% identifying at least one of the 10 signs incorrectly.Other highlights were• 48% believed that the sign for a dangerous corner ahead signaled a left turn ahead.● • Drivers with 21-40 years of driving experience were the group who performed best in identitying warning signs, with 30% of this age group getting al signs correct.In addition to the dangerous corner sign respondents also had difficulty with a number of other signs. The sign for an intersection with a dual carriageway caused problems for respondents with 30% incorrectly identifying the sign, as did the sign relating to the ending of a dual carriageway, with the same number, 30% failing to correctly identify it.4Conversely to the trend observed in relation to regulatory signs, drivers with less experience had more difficulty correctly identifying warning signs. Just 14% of those on provisional licenses were able to correctly identify all of the signs correctly in contrast to those with between 21 and 40 years of driving experience were 30% correctly identified al of the signs. Again, it was road users in the midlands that performed best when it came to recognising warning signs. Respondents in Waterford performed worst of all the urban centres, fol owed by those in Galway and Limerick.Information signsInformation signs include road signs showing directions and the location of services or places of interest or importance to tourists. There were just two questions in the survey relating to this type of sign and just over half of respondents got one of these wrong. Males performed marginal y better than females with 51% getting all the signs correct while 44% of females did. Those over the age of 45 performed best out of the age groups with 53% of them getting all the signs correct. The sign for a slow lane caused some problems for respondents with just 53% selecting the correct answer.Road markingsKey Points• Just 5% of respondents managed to answer all of the seven questions correctly.• 18 - 24 year olds performed somewhat better than other age groups with 10% of them getting all the questions correct.Road markings proved to be quite chal enging for the respondents. Those in the 18-24 age group performed best overall but despite this just 10% managed to answer all of the questions correctly. In the 21-40 year old age group this figure dropped to just 2% suggesting that more experienced drivers have more of a problem with road markings than less experienced drivers. Respondents had the most difficulty interpreting the meaning of a continuous white line ahead with 67% of respondents choosing the incorrect option of ‘you may overtake if it is safe to do so’. There was also difficulty with a question relating to where road users might see a triangle painted on the road with just 31% selecting the correct answer. All of the 5respondents displayed a very low awareness of road markings, regardless of gender and license type. This was one of the more concerning findings of the study as some of the markings involved communicate important safety information to road users.Sign related informationRespondents were also quizzed on sign related information. This involved testing levels of knowledge related to the rules and regulations behind some of the information conveyed on signage. Worryingly, 83% of respondents answered at least one of the four questions in this section incorrectly. Those aged between 18-24 years performed best with 29% correctly answer all of the questions posed. Those with the least driving experience, namely those with 1-5 years and those with 6-10 years also scored better than other road users but still just 21% of these groups managed to correctly answer all of the questions. Again males performed slightly better than females with 20% correctly answering all questions as opposed to 15% of females.The question respondents had the most trouble with was the question in relation to motorway countdown markers. Only 40% of respondents chose the correct answer. In a question relating to pelican crossings just 67% of respondents chose the correct answer. Awareness of this category of signage was low across all urban centres with respondents in Limerick doing best fol owed by drivers from the Midlands. Perceived Levels of Knowledge vs. Reality Before putting our questions to respondents Zurich asked them to rate how good they felt their level of knowledge of road signage of markings was. Of those that felt they had an excel ent knowledge of road marking and signage, most performed better than average but unsurprisingly were not as good as would have been expected. Road markings was the area that the greatest discrepancy between actual and perceived knowledge existed with just 4% of those who said they had a good knowledge getting all 7 questions correct. Despite the pretty low scores across most of the categories, only 36% of all respondents felt that there are too few road signs and markings while 55% felt there are enough. Younger road users in particular were more supportive of the amount of signs and markings with no one in the 18-24 age group agreeing that there are too many. Regional y, Ulster had the highest percentage of those who felt that there were too many road signs with 21% saying so. On the subject of whether the respondents feel there is enough being done to educate people on road signage and markings, 82% of respondents say that there isn’t enough being done and those aged 18-24 were the most likely to agree with the statement with 29% feeling there is enough done. However this group was also the most likely to have recently sat a driver theory test.6ConclusionsThe research findings were broadly in line with what Zurich expected to find. While there is a strong level of knowledge and understanding of road signage and markings amongst all of those surveyed there are also some quite concerning gaps in certain categories, among certain age groups and road use experience categories. What is also clear is that there is a considerable gap between what road users think they know about road signs and markings and the reality.The poor levels of understanding of road markings in particular and declining levels of knowledge among more experienced road users are two areas that Zurich sees a need to prioritise. There is a very obvious need for more experienced road users to ‘refresh’ their levels of knowledge of signs and markings, particularly in light of the changes that have been taking place across Ireland’s road network since more experienced users would have taken their driving test. There is also a need to ensure that the driver theory and practical tests place enough emphasis on educating new road users on road markings in the future. About iReach Market ResearchiReach Market Research is one of Irelands leading market research and intel igence companies specialising in technology, media, telecoms and e-business research using a mix of research approaches and methodologies. iReach Market Research use the same techniques and methodologies to online research as CATI or face to face projects, from questionnaire design, sampling, quality assurance and data validation. This approach ensures iReach research analysts are working with robust and valid data for the analysis and reporting phases of each project – be it online, phone based or face to face research projects.iReach are the only research provider that ful y adheres to the ESOMAR guidelines on research panels which looks at 26 best practice areas for managing research panels to protect the interests of research participants, research customers and research methods. For more information visit the iReach website: www.ireachonline.com7Zurich Insurance plc Zurich House, Ballsbridge Park, Dublin 4, Ireland.Telephone: 01 667 0666 Fax: 01 667 0644 Website: www.zurich.ieZurich Insurance plc is regulated by the Financial Regulator.