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Motoring Issues

AAA poll takes pulse of readers on variety of transportation topics.

More than 1,200 AAA members responded to a poll in the January/February issue of the AAA Southern Traveler about traffic safety issues and transportation concerns. Both state and federal legislators are being advised by AAA of the opinions expressed by its members in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi who responded to the poll.

GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS

Automated enforcement of traffic laws received a positive response but with some conditions. In school zones, 46 percent of respondents favored enforcing the speed limit at any speed over the posted limit. On residential streets, most favor enforcing the speed limit with a 5 mph tolerance. On interstates and major highways, the majority favor a margin of at least 10 mph or more over the speed limit before tickets are issued. Major thoroughfares drew the greatest response of “Do not issue any tickets this way,” as 17 percent opposed automated enforcement on interstates and 13 percent were against it on major roads.

Technology designed to prevent a vehicle’s engine from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above the legal limit should be standard equipment in new vehicles, according to 59 percent of respondents.

CONSUMER RECALL NOTICES

Often in the news in 2010, safety recalls are a fact of motoring life and can affect many motorists. In our survey, 61 percent said they have received a safety recall notice. To their credit and the manufacturers’ credit, two-thirds of those getting a notice responded and had their vehicle repaired within one month of the notice.

HIGHWAY FUNDING

Studies have shown that not enough is being spent on our highway system to properly maintain it and provide for needed improvements to enhance safety and reduce congestion. When we asked if additional revenue is needed for highway maintenance and improvements, 72 percent of the respondents replied “yes,” which was nearly identical to earlier polls asking this question.

And how is it that you want your highway user’s payments to be spent? We asked respondents to allocate $100 of the highway users fees they pay (registration and fuel taxes) among several transportation improvement options in their area. On average, respondents allocated the $100 among the following:

$57.70 Maintenance/improvements to existing roads
14.90 New roads
13.10 Public transit
4.60 Bicycle and pedestrian safety projects
3.80 Recreational cycling and walking trails
One measure of the intensity respondents feel toward their preferred improvement is what percentage did not want any split and wanted all of their funds to go to a single project.

 
The percentage of those wanting all $100 of their dollars to go to their preferred project were:
The percentage of those wanting none of their dollars to go to these projects were:
Maintenance/improvements
to existing roads
28.0%
12.0%
Public transit
3.2
5.4
New roads
1.5
52
Recreational cycling/walking trails
0.14
69
Bicycle/pedestrian safety projects
0
65

HIGHWAY PROBLEMS AND PRIORITIES

Compared to three years ago, motorists rated the condition of state highways in their area as:

Improved 31%
Stayed the same 33
Declined 36

AAA members in Arkansas and Mississippi were more encouraged about the condition of their roads than the overall ratings. In Arkansas, 37 percent rated the roads as improved and 32 percent indicated road conditions had declined. In Mississippi, even more (38 percent) said their roads had improved, while 35 percent rated them as declined. Louisiana residents were the most critical as 40 percent described their roads as declined.

When asked to rate the most important highway improvement from among several choices, they rated as their highest priority the following:

Resurfacing existing four-lane roads 31%
Four laning of existing two-lane roads 26 Eliminating commuter bottlenecks 23
Adding more road safety features (guardrails, median barriers, etc.) 14
Widening secondary road bridges 6

SAFETY CONCERNS

Of the five safety concerns from which motorists selected, their No. 1 concern was “distracted drivers.” Their concerns include:

Distracted drivers 40%
Drunk drivers 21
Aggressive drivers 18
Large trucks 13
Road conditions 8

 

Mar/Apr 2011 Issue


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