Institute of Not Very Advanced Motorists

The Institute of Advanced Motorists is normally pretty good on facts. It’s not the Association of British Drivers, which often pays just a fleeting visit to truthfulness. IAM even has a cycling section. But last month IAM got road funding wrong and today the organisation with 100,000 members has issued a press release with more mistakes. Of course, there’s the all too typical mistake about ‘road tax’ – a duty 74 years dead – but check out the comment from one of the motorists quoted. Apparently, the Institute of Advanced Motorists is happy to repeat that speed limits seem to be minimums, not maximums.

“Drivers are unable to keep up with speed limits.”

The number in the red roundels isn’t a target. it’s a Thou Shalt Not Pass.

Now, the IAM might claim that it’s the motorist making the mistakes, not itself, but this is a press release, it’s not a news story.

PRESS RELEASE: Potholes give councils a bumpy ride

A third of drivers have had their cars damaged by a pothole, according to the latest poll from road safety charity the IAM.

A further 16 per cent have been involved in, or have seen an accident caused by a road user hitting a pothole. Of the 2600 respondents, 88 per cent voted pothole repair the top priority for local council maintenance.

Only 14 per cent of people think that their council’s current performance maintaining local roads is good or very good, with more than half rating it as bad or very bad. When asked what areas of road maintenance were being done well, 50 per cent responded ‘none’, and half also think that the roads in their area are getting worse.

Overall, Welsh respondents are the happiest with council road maintenance, with 27 per cent rating performance as good. Respondents from the South East are the least happy with local road maintenance, with only ten per cent rating it as good, although Londoners were an exception to this – 18 per cent rated their council as good. Many comments suggested that local government spending cuts are the cause of these problems – respondents weren’t just negative about the authorities themselves.

Keeping foliage and grass cut back to preserve visibility, and annual surface dressing of worn out roads, were the second and third most important maintenance factors, at 64 and 58 per cent respectively.

IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “The public is unhappy with the state of their roads, although many realise that spending cuts are the real problem. Eighty per cent of those polled thought that local councils should work more closely together to increase efficiency, and with no loosening of the public purse strings in sight it will take partnerships to ensure the backlog in road maintenance does not continue to stack up.”

Surrey motorist David Kellie, 63, said: “Who needs ‘sleeping Policemen’? The roads are in such a poor state of repair that most drivers are unable to keep up with speed limits. Those on two wheels are in constant danger of being thrown off whether it be a motorbike or cycle. We are fed up of hearing about cuts as the motorist is charged more at the pumps and through road tax. Where does the money go?”

+++++++++ is an ironically-named campaign supporting the road rights of cyclists. The message that cyclists have equal rights on the roads is carried on iPayRoadTax t-shirts and jerseys.