New guidelines issued by a Government agency outlining the language to be used by employees of the Highways Agency and DVLA has advised against the use of the word ‘motorist’, and several other phrases.
The guidance has met with a negative reaction from the motoring industry.
The guidelines advise employees to replace certain phrases with phrases that may be perceived as more inclusive to general road users. The use of some negative and informal phrases has also been advised against.
The guidelines, released by the Department for Transport following a Freedom of Information request, advise employees not to slip into using ‘jargon’ and to think of customers “out there on the network”. The guidance also includes the sections “How do we sound human?”, “How do we sound helpful?” and “How do we sound active?”
Employees of DVLA have been asked not to use “unfortunately” along with the phrases “I’m afraid …”, “not possible” and “I can’t”.
Peter Roberts of the Drivers’ Alliance said: “This is an absurd and typically overly-bureaucratic piece of guidance that just goes to reinforce the belief that this Government has an ideological hatred of motorists and anything to do with the motor vehicle“.
James May, the television presenter, slammed the guidelines as a “complete waste of time and money”.
When asked about the ban on the word “motorists”, a spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said: “The dictionary definition of a motorist is a car driver. As an agency we target all road users, including those in vans, buses and on motorcycles, not just those that travel in cars. The word ‘driver’ is a more inclusive term”.
What do you think? Is this guidance a step in the right direction to remove negative and non-inclusive language from communications with such agencies, or bureaucratic red tape? Have your say in our comments!