Motorists and truck drivers show a worsening in the misuse of mobile phones while driving, which is still by far the most risky behaviour for highway drivers. On the other hand, the use of seat belts for passengers is still growing, and the figure linked to speeding is gurther reduced. These are the main results emerging from the fourth survey of the "Driving Styles Observatory" promoted by A4 Holding, an Abertis Group company that manages the A4 Brescia-Padova and A31 Valdastico motorway routes.
The data analysis for this year, carried out by Atraki Srl - a spin-off company of the University of Padua specializing in the analysis of transport systems - was conducted in the same period of 2021, both through the monitoring from mobile workstations of more than 1,700 vehicles (53% light and 47% heavy), and through the observation of traffic in transit, carried out using fixed stations, located in some motorway sections of the A4 Brescia-Padova and the A31 Valdastico, both networks under the competence of the A4 Holding Group.
The calculations thus carried out by the Observatory showed a worsening of the data concerning the improper use of mobile phones by drivers observed: in fact in the 2021 report the average data recorded was 12%, for 2022 the data is instead 16%, with a with an increase in the number of drivers of light vehicles (from 8% in 2021 to 12% this year), and especially for drivers of heavy vehicles, who use their mobile phone inappropriately in 20% of the cases observed (it was 11% in 2021).
Contrary to what has been reported for the use of mobile phones while driving, the 2022 survey shows that the number of light and heavy-duty drivers who use seat belts while driving is increasing (98% of drivers use them regularly), especially truck and articulated vehicle drivers, who increase from 73% in 2021 to the significant figure of 88% recorded in the 2022 report.
A note of merit must also be expressed in favour of light vehicles drivers in relation to the data for seatbelt use by rear seat passengers in fact, it was possible to see a high increase in the number of users of the seat belt, with only 11% maintaining the bad habit of not wearing it.
To complete the mobile analysis framework on the behaviour of motorway user, the Observatory also checked drivers' behaviour with respect to the use of lane-change arrows, which the non-use has always been a potential cause of accidents. The 2022 data show an improvement in the tendency of drivers to signal to change lane (82%) and a slight decrease for motorists (49% compared to 52% in the previous survey), but thenegative trend persist, especially among motorists, not to signal the re-entry manoeuvre.
The observations carried out from fixed position on the A4 Brescia-Padova and the A31 Valdastico also this year made it possible to examine the driving behaviour of users of the two motorways both in relation to exceeding the speed limit and compliance with the safety distance.
There has been a gradual reduction over the last two years in the number of light vehicles exceeding the speed limit of 130 km/h, which now stands at 11.3% on the A4 in the section between the provinces of Brescia and Padua (compared to 14.1% recorded in 2021) and 36.4% (unlike to 40% in the past survey) on the A31 Valdastico.
Unfortunately, the percentage of vehicles that do not observe the correct safety distance still remains high (31.27% on the A4 and 17.1% on the A31), while the percentage of heavy vehicle drivers who fully respect it is almost unchanged over the past three-year (over 93% on the A4 and over 96% on the A31).
Finally, despite the many recommendations and valuable invitations also through the reports on the 117 panels on the two motorways arteries, the bad habit of not occupying the rightmost lane while driving on motorways continues to manifest itself among motorists (35%).
"The Driving Style Observatory continues to be a very effective analysis tool to allow us to understand which measures and projects are most appropriate to further reduce accident datas on the sections we manage," commented Gonzalo Alcalde Rodríguez, President of A4 Holding. - It is a tool that, on the one hand, optimizes the process of analysing risky behaviour on highways and, on the other, allows us to activate initiatives and awareness-raising campaigns that are increasingly useful for making people understand the risks and get them to adopt appropriate behaviour to preserve their own safety and that of other travellers."