The cost of fuel remains a top concern for motorists despite the recent falls in pump prices. With overwhelming evidence of the link between fuel prices and economic growth, the RAC calls on the Chancellor to announce a freeze on fuel duty for the life of this Parliament.
Pricing aberrations are still common and the RAC calls on the Competition and Markets Authority to re-examine the fuel retail market.
The state of local roads is motorists’ top concern and top transport spending priority. Whilst acknowledging the desire to devolve responsibility wherever possible, the RAC calls on the Government to provide leadership and to ensure local authorities, and particularly revitalised city regions, have sufficient freedom to allocate expenditure in line with the priorities of council tax payers so local roads command the priority they deserve.
The RAC also calls on the Government to follow the recommendations of the Pothole Review to ensure funds are used for preventative maintenance rather than just short-term remedial repairs.
The Strategic Road Network
The RAC welcomes the Road Investment Strategy and supports the introduction of more smart motorways. However, the RAC has concerns regarding the safety of the ‘all-lanes-running’ configuration of smart motorways and therefore calls on Highways England to monitor the safety performance closely where all-lanes running is in use and to consider reverting to the dynamic hard shoulder configuration for these and other sections planned for all-lanes running.
The RAC recognises major road users will suffer increased congestion and delays over the next five years as the network is upgraded. The RAC therefore calls on Highways England and other stakeholders to raise awareness and make the case that further delay in the short term is a price worth paying for a better network that can support economic growth and mobility in the 2020s.
A majority of motorists want the limit on motorways raised from 70mph to 80mph and therefore the RAC would like to see a trial of 80mph, a government proposal in 2012 which was referred to again recently. The RAC therefore calls on the Government to clarify its position on a trial of an 80mph limit.
Most motorists support 20mph zones in residential areas and accident black spots. However, the RAC has concerns about 20mph on busy through routes where compliance is claimed to be poor. The RAC therefore calls on the Government to provide best practice guidance for local authorities on implementing 20mph limits.
Motorists concerns about the illegal behaviour of other drivers ranks highly, but there is little expectation that those who break the law will be caught by a police officer, no doubt due to the fact road traffic police numbers in England and Wales fell by 22.7% between 2010 and 2014. The RAC therefore calls on the Government, police authorities and chief constables to halt the decline in traffic police numbers.
The year-on-year decline of road casualty numbers has faltered with accidents involving young drivers still disproportionately high. The RAC calls on the Government to tackle the problem with an open-minded approach that includes new technical solutions (e.g. telematics) and best practice from overseas (e.g. graduated licensing). There is strong support for a drink-drive blood-alcohol limit of 50mg/100ml or less. The RAC therefore calls on the Government to reduce the limit in England and Wales to 50mg/100ml to bring it in line with Scotland and most EU countries.
The RAC acknowledges the need for local action to improve air quality but has serious concerns that some actions unreasonably penalise those who have bought small modern fuel-efficient diesel vehicles. The RAC recognises such decisions are the responsibility of local authorities, but calls on the Government to show leadership by encouraging best practice and discouraging the demonising of diesel and the punishment of owners of modern low carbon dioxide-emitting diesel vehicles.