Safety impact of

soaring fuel prices

SOARING fuel costs have left a hole in the pocket of motorists across the country, but it could be having an unexpected positive impact on the safety of Britain's roads.

That's according to latest research commissioned by independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, which has revealed that potentially millions of motorists have changed their driving habits for the better amid the fuel crisis.

Of 1,004 motorists surveyed, 72 per cent stated that they had changed how they travel due to travel costs.

Of this number, 38 per cent stated that they now drive more economically as a result of rising fuel costs, while almost one in five, 19 per cent, have taken extra care to stick to the speed limit.

This respectively represents up to 12.5 million and six million of the 33 million people in possession of a full driving licence in the UK who have adopted slower or smoother driving habits in recent times.

The devastating impact of driving too fast is demonstrated by Department for Transport statistics, which show that exceeding the speed limit was reported as a factor in seven per cent of all accidents, but of these accidents 17 per cent were fatalities.

In addition, exceeding the speed limit and travelling too fast for conditions were factors in 13 per cent of all accidents, and these accidents accounted for 27 per cent of all fatalities.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, said: "The rising cost of fuel is yet another added expenditure in this difficult cost of living crisis, and our research demonstrates that many have been forced to rethink their driving habits in an effort to keep their fuel costs to a minimum.

"Driving slower and more economically will no doubt help keep the pain at the pumps down, but another positive impact of this is, of course, road safety.

"We would urge those who have adopted slower and smoother driving habits to maintain these habits, regardless of fuel prices. This way motorists will not only save money on fuel and travel greener, but also potentially save lives."

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