A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39

The Questionnaire





Region 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Urban 8

Rural 9

Occupation Age Children Econ. Group (C.W.E.)
Housewife 1 Under 24 0 None 0 Up to £3 1
Agriculture 2 25 – 34 1 0 - 5 1 Over £3 - £4 2
Mining 3 35 – 44 2 5 - 14 Cyclist 2 Over £4-£5. 10.0 3
Factory 4 45 - 54 3 5 - 14 Non Cyclist 3 Over £5. 10.0-£10 4
Bldg. Trans. 55 - 64 4 15 - 20 Cyclist 4 Over £10 5
Pub. Util 5 65 + 5 15 - 20 Non Cyclist 5 N.A. 0
Clerical 6 Sex Status Occ. of C.W.E.
Distributive 7
Miscellaneous 8 Married 6
Profess. & Manag. 9 Male 6 Single 7
Retd. & Unoco. 0 Female 7 Widowed 8

1. How do you get to your work?

Walk Y
Bus or Tram X
Train 0
Priv. Car 1
Com. Car 2
Motor Cycle 3
Pedal Cycle 4
Others 5
N.A. 6

2. Apart from your work and getting to work do you do any travelling?

Code Regularly Occasionally Never N.A. Bus or Tram Train Private Car Commerc. Car Motor Cycle Pedal Cycle Others N.A.
Leisure Y X 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Shopping Y X 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Y X 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Y X 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

3. What do you think about the problem of road accidents?

(a) Would you say the problem was Serious ......... 1 Not Serious ......... 2 D.K. ......... 3 N.A. ......... 4

(b) If Serious - would you say it is Very Serious ......... 5 Fairly Serious ......... 6 N.A. ......... 7

(c) To All - What do you think should be done about it? .........

4. (a) Have you heard about the Highway Code? Yes ......... 1 No ......... 2 Doubtful ......... 3 N.A ......... .4.

If Yes

(b) What is it? .........

(c) Have you a copy? Yes ......... Y No ......... X D.K ......... .0 N.A ......... .1

(d) Where did you get it? Delivered by post ......... 2 Bought at newsagents ......... 3

Bought at G.P.O ......... .4 Others ......... 6

D.K. ......... 6 N.A ......... .7

(e) Have you read it? Yes ......... 1 No ......... .2 Glanced at it ......... 3 Don’t remember ......... 4 N.A ......... .5

(f) What did you think about it? .........

If No or Doubtful (Show informant a copy, then ask:-)

(g) What do you think about it? .........

5. (a) Do you think it would help the road accident situation if the public would remember a set of rules like this? Yes ......... Y No ......... X D.K ......... .0 N.A ......... .1

If not, why not? .........

(b) Do you think: This booklet is a good way of helping people to know the rules ......... 1

There is a better way ......... 2

This is a good way, but other ways should be used as well ......... 3

If better way - or other ways - what? .........

6. Is there anything else you would like to suggest which might help to improve the situation? Yes ......... Y No ......... X N.A ......... .0

If Yes - what? .........

7. (a) Have you been involved in a road accident? Yes ......... 1 No ......... 2 N.A ......... .3

If Yes: Has any particular point about it stayed in your mind? .........

(b) Have you ever seen a road accident Yes ......... 4 No ......... 5 N.A ......... .6

If Yes: Has any particular point about it stayed in your mind? .........

(c) Have you read or heard about any road accident recently? Yes ......... 7 No ......... 8 N.A ......... .9.

If Yes: Has any particular point about it stayed in your mind? .........

8. What actions by the following groups of people would you say are likely to result in accidents?

(a) Pedestrians .........

(b) Cyclists .........

(c) Moto Cyclists .........

(d) Private Car Drivers .........

(e) Bus Drivers .........

(f) Heavy Lorry Drivers .........

(g) Small Lorry & Van Drivers .........

(h) Army, Navy, Air Force Car Drivers .........

9. What do you think children do which is specially dangerous? .........


(a) Are you doing anything particular with your child to guard against this? .........

(b) Have you heard about Kerb Drill? Yes ......... 1 No ......... 2 D.K ......... .3 N.A ......... .4 .........

If Yes: What is it? .........

10. (a) School Picture. If you were giving a child directions about getting to School from point A., what would you emphasise?

Use Crossing where cars are parked 1
Do not cross until sure no moving vehicles are approaching from behind stationary cars 2
Use crossing at top of road - don’t cross opposite School 3
Watch out for cars coming around corner 4

(b) Crossing Pictures. If you were pointing out to a child what mistakes and dangerous things which might lead to accidents were being done, what would you say?

Children should not be playing on pavement with traffic going along road 1
Pedestrian at bottom right is not on crossing 2
Pedestrian at bottom right should look out for moving cars masked by stationary ones 3
Pedestrian at bottom left should not move off pavement until no cars are rounding corner 4
Pedestrian at top right is walking in the road 5
Cyclist at top left is not in full control of cycle 6

(c) Bend in Road Picture. If you were pointing out to a child what mistakes and dangerous things which might lead to accidents were being done, what would you say?

Pedestrian top left should be on crossing 1
Pedestrian top left should not step off pavement until cycle has passed 2
Cars are overtaking on bend 3
Pedestrian bottom right pointing away from oncoming traffic and not giving it full attention 4
Pedestrian bottom right should be on crossing 5

Notes and Instructions given to Investigators


A study of public awareness of the dangers of road accidents


In December 1943 a Committee on Road Safety was set up “to consider such plans as are possible for reducing accidents on the roads and for securing improvements in the conduct of road users in the interests of safety”. In its interim report the Committee agreed with the suggestion of an “extensive and persistent campaign of educational propaganda aimed at every class of road user”. "Propaganda has natural limitations and it can operate effectively only as a part of a carefully balanced long-term plan embracing the improvement of roads as well as the training, education and control of road users. In character it is largely educational, and its strength lies in its power to implant in the mind of the public certain courses of action as being in their own interest and to kindle a keen public concern about road safety. It does not so readily lend itself to short-range tasks, and while, for instance, it can be adapted to the special accident features of any particular district it is not so suitable a remedy for accident “black-spots” as are physical measures.” It further suggested that in the early post-war period conditions on the roads will present abnormal sources of danger amongst which it listed:

  1. (a) Increased volume of motor traffic to which road users will be unaccustomed.

  2. (b) Carelessness of road users.

  3. (c) Inadequacy of street lighting.

  4. (d) Bad driving due to lack of practice and to the sense of immunity acquired by drivers under wartime conditions.

  5. (e) Poor road-worthiness of vehicles, arising out of the lower standard of maintenance during the war and the fact that many vehicles have been laid up for a considerable time without adequate attention.

  6. (f) Inadequacy of parental supervision of children.

  7. (g) Time lag in the removal of wartime obstacles, e.g. air raid surface shelters.

  8. (h) Time lag in the introduction of physical safety measures.

Then it urged that propaganda to deal with these special risks should form part of the long-term campaign to come into operation as soon as possible after hostilities have ceased in Europe.

“The basis of this long-term programme” said the report “should be the education of the public in the precepts contained in the Highway Code and should be of an educative and persuasive character rather than in the nature of exhortation”.

This survey is the first of a series of studies, the aim of which, is to measure the effect of this campaign. It will be carried out before the main campaign starts so as to provide basic data with which the results of later studies can be compared. It is designed to test knowledge and not to register actions and it is not suggested that the results of these studies will provide evidence of what people do in the circumstances in which accidents occur. Evidence of people’s actions can be provided by observational techniques and it is proposed to experiment with such techniques during the course of this enquiry. If those experiments arc successful then they could be embodied in later studies.

The Nature of the Problem

1. Killed and Injured as a result of Road Accidents in Gt. Britain

Killed Injured
1937 6633 226,402
1938 6648 226,711
1944 6416 124,458

More people were killed and injured on the roads during the war than during the same period were killed and injured as a result of enemy air attacks in this country.

2. During 1944 the proportions killed or injured in various capacities were as follows:

Killed Injured
Pedestrians 3314 42,484
Drivers 360 11,525
Motor Cyclists & Pillion riders 574 9,356
Pedal Cyclists 1185 32,064
Others 983 32,029
6416 124,458

Since 1930 about half the people killed have been pedestrians, about 20% pedal cyclists and about 20% motor cyclists and passengers.

3. Of the pedestrians and pedal cyclists killed and injured many were under 15 years of age.

Total Under 15
Pedestrians Killed 3314 2180
Injured 42484 25454
Cyclists Killed 1185 201
Injured 32064 5361

In the year 1935 of all pedestrians killed 50% were over 55 years of age, and 25% were under 11 years of age. These proportions are far higher than the proportions which these age groups are of the total population.

Of all pedal cyclists killed 25% were between 11 and 18 years of age.

4. Police reports are made in most road accidents and these are analysed every year. Outstanding points on the nature of accidents which these reports yield are given below.

  1. (a) 28% of fatal accidents and 35% of accidents involving injury are at uncontrolled road junctions.

  2. (b) 50% of fatal accidents and 46% of accidents involving injury are on straight roads.

  3. (c) 10% of fatal accidents and 6% of accidents involving injury are on open bends.

  4. (d) In 58% of fatal accidents to pedestrians and 50% of accidents involving injury, the pedestrians are crossing at an uncontrolled crossing. In 16% of fatal accidents with pedestrians and 20% of accidents involving injury the pedestrians are walking in the carriageway although there is a footpath.

According to the police reports accidents may chiefly be attributed to the following causes when motorists, cyclists or pedestrians are at fault:

I. Motorists

33% of fatal accidents are attributed to motorists where faults in order of magnitude were: Turning. Skidding, Overtaking, Inattention, Misjudgment.

II. Cyclists

16% of fatal accidents are attributed to cyclists where faults, in order of magnitude were: Turning, Losing Control, Swerving, Speeding, Inattention.

23% of accidents involving injury are attributed to cyclists where faults in order of magnitude were: Turning, Inattention, Swerving, Skidding, Losing Control.

III. Pedestrians

39% of fatal accidents are attributed to pedestrians where faults in order of magnitude were: Heedless, Emerging from obstruction, Walking in carriageway.

30% of accidents involving injury are attributed to pedestrians where faults in order of magnitude were: Heedless, Emerging from obstruction.

The diagrams to which later questions in the schedule refer are based on these accidents statistics.

It is clear from the figures given that responsibility for accidents is widespread, amongst all road users. It follows from this that the general acceptance and practice of a common-code of road behaviour might be expected to reduce the toll of road accidents.

The Highway Code which is a series of simple, straightforward precepts was devised for this purpose. It will be seen that most of the pieces of advice it gives are common sense and indeed obvious. Nevertheless it is true that according to the police reports many accidents would not occur if road users were to behave in accordance with that advice. The educational campaign will be aimed at bringing it to the notice of all sections of the public and the present schedule is designed to record (a) Accident consciousness (b) Public awareness of specific dangers, and (c) Public awareness of correct road behaviour.

The Schedule


You will need to note specially the section dealing with children where a record is required of whether any of the older children are cyclists. Qs. 1 and 2 are really part of the classification section and may be asked any time during the interview.

Q.1. applies only to the section of the sample which normally goes out to work i.e. most people in occupation classifications 2-9 inclusive. Only one answer should be recorded - the form of transport used for major part of the journey.

Q.2. applies to these sections and also to those others likely to travel for the purpose stated. It would probably be better to reword the question for those later to something like: “During the course of your activities do you do any travelling by vehicles”. Write under “shopping” any other activity which involves travelling. Leisure means activity which is not connected with work or domestic duties.

Sequence of Questions

Q. 3 should always be asked first and all other questions should be asked in the order they are printed. The pictures should only be shown after questions 3-9 have been put.

The Questions

Q. 3a. and b. should be prompted.

Q. 3c. should be put to everybody and verbatim replies should be recorded.

Q.4. There was a nation-wide postal distribution of copies of the Highway Code before the war. It is now on sale on bookstalls and in post offices. There has not however, been much publicity about it since the war.

Copies should not be shown to informants before question 4a. is put.

Q.4a. Mark as “Doubtful” all who do not definitely acknowledge or deny knowledge.

Ask Q.4a. but do not mark it before asking 4b. Only mark as “Yes” in 4a. those who give a sufficient description of the Highway Code. Those saying “Yes” or giving an unspecific answer who cannot give a sufficient description of the code should be marked “vague”.

Mark “No” those who say that they have not heard of the code.

A sufficient description of the code would be “rules to stop accidents - about road behaviour - how to conduct yourself on the roads”.

Q.4d. Mark all who cannot say clearly where they get it “DK”.

Q.4e. Mark “Glanced at it” those who say “I skimmed through it” or “I looked at the pictures”.

Q.4g. Show all who say “No” or “Doubtful” to 4a. the copy of the Highway Code which you have. Tell then what it is and show then the separate sections. Give informants plenty of time to study the booklet and if necessary say “would you look through this carefully, I would like you to say what you think of it”.

Q.5a. and b. should be asked of everybody. 5a. puts the idea of a code of behaviour to informant and 5b. puts the method of presenting such a code to informants. 5b. should be prompted with codes 1 and 2. Mark as 3 those who cannot agree with 1 or 2 as their opinions of the way to present a code.

Q.6. Ask informants for their ideas apart from a code of road behaviour. This puts Q.3c. after the informants have had time to warm up and after the idea of a code has been put to then.

Q.7b. means apart from any accident informant was involved in and 7c. means apart from any accident informant saw or was involved in. Informants may therefore fall into all 3 categories.

A record is required of the chief individual impression of the accident.

Recently means during the last twelve months.

Q.8. All sections of this question must be put separately Do not accept an answer which is unspecific. If informants say e.g. “Pedestrians aren’t careful enough” ask “In what way” or “what are they not careful enough about” or “what do they chiefly do which may cause accidents”.

In order to secure a response it may be necessary to paraphrase the question in some such way as “judging by what you have seen or heard, what would you say pedestrians do which is likely to get them into an accident”.

Q.9. Should be put as a separate question and an answer recorded regardless of whether reference is made to children in Q.8. If there is such a reference in Q.8. then when you put Q.9. ask informant to pick out the worst things children do so far as accidents are concerned.

Q.9a. Can obviously only be put to those informants who have young children.

Q. 9b. Here once again as “what is it” of those saying “Yes”, before marking them “Yes”. If they give an unsatisfactory reply, mark them “No”. If informant says Kerb Drill in reply to 9a. then simply mark 9b. “Yes” and ask “What is it”.


The three illustrated street situations are based on accidents statistics. They attempt to portray the chief reasons for accidents according to police reports. All three must be presented separately and time given for the informants to familiarize themselves with the situation. The chief features of the illustrations should be pointed out to informants so that they can see readily the elements of the situation.

The main points requiring comment for each picture are listed. Investigators must be thoroughly familiar with them so that they are able to mark on each schedule which of these points informant has made. These sections 10a. b. and c. must be thoroughly completed for each informant.

Pictures - Do not mention crossings and do not prompt answers

10(a) School

Mention (1) Child going to school.

(2) moving and stationary traffic.

(3) School gate situated down the road.


Mention (1) Children playing.

(2) Cyclist carrying ladder.


Mention (1) Lady crossing road - going towards church.

(2) Two cars travelling towards bridge.

(3) Lorry coming behind.

(4) Men pointing to the two cars.

When counting pedestrians who are using or not using crossings - ignore all those who are more than 10 yds. distant from either side of the crossing.

Road Behaviour Observation

Investigators working in couples wherever possible should record the following:

(a) At selected stretches of straight road with at least one crossing count in 5 separate half hour periods how many persons cross at crossing and how many do not cross at crossing. Record this in terms of men and women under 20, 20-50, over 50 in so far as this can be stated from inspection.

The times should be: 8-10 and 11-1 a.m.

2-3 and 5-6 p.m. and 7-10 p.m.

(b) On selected corners in the same time periods count how many pedestrians cross without ascertaining whether there is oncoming traffic from round corner i.e. by stopping and looking.

(c) On selected spots in the same time periods count how many stop at places with obstructed view to look for oncoming traffic and how many emerge from obstruction and cross without pause.

(d) On selected uncontrolled comers in the same time periods count how many cars slow down when turning and how many do not.

All these counts should be recorded on the report forms which will be specially prepared for the purpose.

We use cookies to track usage and preferences.

Privacy & Cookie Policy Accept & Close