What are the most common causes of road accidents?

On August 17th 1896, Bridget Driscoll was knocked down and killed by a car in London. The first fatal road accident in Britain, involving the driver and passengers of a motor car, occurred on 23 February 1899. While attempting to turn a corner at over 25mph the car's wheels collapsed. The occupants were thrown out and the driver and front seat passenger killed. Newspapers hoped that this terrible accident would convince drivers to take greater care and keep their speed down.

Today, Great Britain has one of the best road safety records in Europe and the world. Despite massive increases in traffic over the last few decades, the number of people killed on our roads has fallen from around 5,500 per year in the mid 1980s to 1,754 in 2012. However, this still means that around five people die on Britain's roads every day.

Sadly, driver error remains the most common cause of road accidents.

Speeding
Around 400 people a year are killed in crashes in which someone exceeds the speed limit or drives too fast for the conditions.

Drink Driving
Around 280 people die a year in crashes in which someone was over the legal drink drive limit.

Seat Belt Wearing
Around 300 lives each year could be saved if everyone always wore their seat belt.

Careless Driving
Around 300 deaths a year involve someone being "careless, reckless or in a hurry", and a further 125 involve "aggressive driving".

At-work
Around one third of fatal and serious road crashes involve someone who was at work.

Inexperience
More than 400 people are killed in crashes involving young car drivers aged 17 to 24 years, every year, including over 150 young drivers, 90 passengers and more than 170 other road users.

Failed to Look Properly
40% of road crashes involve someone who 'failed to look properly'.

Loss of Control
One third of fatal crashes involved 'loss of control' of a vehicle.

Failed to Judge Other Person's Path/Speed
One in five crashes involve a road user failing to judge another person's path or speed.

Date Updated/Created: 15/07/2013

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