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Mike Stevens | Aug 26, 2009

A NEW STUDY by insurer AAMI shows that most passenger car drivers see four-wheel-drives as a danger on city roads, with 77 percent saying the larger vehicles represent a greater risk for other road users.

More than three quarters of respondents said 4WDs do not belong on city roads, while two-thirds of passenger car drivers believe 4WD owners should be hit with higher registration fees.

Some 67 percent of passenger car drivers said they feel intimidated driving next to four-wheel-drives.

In contrast, only 21 percent of 4WD owners see the larger vehicles as being of any greater danger on the road than regular passenger vehicles, while only 19 percent agreed that 4WDs represent an increased risk to other motorists.

AAMI Corporate Affairs Manager Mike Sopinski said the figures show an alarming divide between the two groups on the rights and obligations of owners of the two vehicle types.

"On every measure, AAMI's research showed stark contrasts between passenger car and 4WD drivers about road entitlements and obligations," Mr Sopinski said.

"It is of concern that road users hold such strong views about their fellow motorists and this may spill over into driving behaviour. We therefore urge drivers of all vehicle types to come to a better understanding of their common rights and obligations."

Despite commonly-held beliefs that 4WDs are involved in more crashes than passenger cars, an analysis of AAMI insurance claims over the past 12 months shows that four-wheel-driver owners claimed for fewer crashes than standard car drivers.

Nationally, passenger car drivers insured with AAMI had a crash claims rate over the past 12 months of 17.82 percent, compared with 16.13 for 4WD owners.

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