What Causes Road Traffic Accidents?

Every year, tens of thousands of people are injured or killed in road traffic accidents on UK roads. At AYB Law, we’re all too familiar with the consequences of such accidents; as we help many clients with hit and run claims to gain the compensation they deserve, we see first-hand how deeply it can impact victims and their families. We’d like nothing more than to see such accidents become a thing of the past, yet the same factors continue to cause accidents every year.

Problems Behind the Wheel

Bad Driver

According to recently released figures from the Department of Transport, 73% of all accidents in 2014, where a police officer attended the scene and at least one contributory factor was listed, were at least partly attributed to driver/rider error or reaction. The next most common category was the driver’s behaviour or inexperience, found in 25% of all accidents, followed by injudicious action, at 23%.

  • Driver/Rider error or reaction: 73%
  • Behaviour or inexperience: 25%
  • Injudicious action: 23%
  • Impairment or distraction: 13%
  • Road environment contributed: 13%
  • Pedestrian only (casualty or uninjured): 12%
  • Vision affected by external factors: 10%
  • Special codes (includes stolen vehicles, emergency vehicles and other causes): 5%
  • Vehicle defects: 2%

The overall picture is clear; the biggest issue is not where we’re driving, or what we’re driving; it’s how we drive.

Didn’t Look, Didn’t Care?

Man pressing horn while in a traffic jam

The biggest specific issue identified in 2014 is the same as last year, the year before that, and all the way back to 2005 when statistics on contributory factors first began to be collected: drivers or riders failing to look properly. 45% of all accidents in 2014 listed this as a factor; when split by road type, it contributed to 49% of accidents on urban roads, 34% of accidents on rural roads, and 33% of accidents on motorways.

The top five specific issues of 2014 were:

  • Driver/rider failed to look properly: 45%
  • Driver/Rider failed to judge other person’s path or speed: 22%
  • Driver/Rider careless, reckless or in a hurry: 18%
  • Poor turn or manoeuvre: 16%
  • Loss of control: 13%

It should be borne in mind that these figures are largely subjective, based on the reporting officer’s interpretation of the accident and not necessarily an indepth investigation, however it’s still quite obvious that, if we’re to reduce the number of accidents on the road, the biggest change we can all make is simply to drive more carefully. If we all took the time to check our mirrors, paid more attention to other road users and were generally more considerate, there would be a lot fewer accidents.

At AYB Law we sincerely hope that you’ll never need our services, but if you are involved in a road accident that isn’t your fault, our sympathetic and professional team can help guide you through the process of making a road accident or hit and run claim. For more information, contact us today on 0800 0443 495.