Latest Road Casualty Figures

Human error or deliberate error?

25 September 2008

emergency services attend a serious crash

Human error

The AA is calling upon all drivers to assess their own driving skills and temperament as loss of control of a vehicle was a factor in a third of all fatal road accidents last year, according to new Government figures.

For all accidents, failing to look properly was a contributory factor in 35% of incidents.

Factors in crashes involving younger drivers, particularly males, were more likely to relate to speed and behaviour.

Deaths on the roads fell last year to 2,946, the lowest level since records began in 1928. Four of the five most frequently reported contributory factors in accidents involved driver or rider error or reaction.

AA comment

Commenting, Andrew Howard, AA Head of Road Safety, said;

"These figures show that human errors – and the human wish to find a shortcut – contribute to the vast majority of accidents. Some drivers make genuine mistakes and some deliberately take risks. But new rules telling us how to behave aren't the only answer and efforts must be made to protect us from these errors, through safer road design and safer vehicles."

Drink and drugs

Deaths from driving while over the legal alcohol limit were 460 in 2007 - an 18% drop on the 560 figure in 2006.

In 2007, it was estimated that 14,480 casualties (6% of all road casualties) occurred when someone was driving while over the legal limit for alcohol. The number of deaths was 460 (16% of all road deaths).

Survey evidence, anecdotal evidence and views from the police suggest that drug driving is also a serious problem. An AA Populus poll of 18,500 drivers found that 50% felt that drug driving was as big a problem as drink driving. These concerns are not reflected in the Government figures.

The figures show that 3% of fatalities (64 deaths) resulted from illicit or licit drugs. This increased from 2% (51 deaths) the previous year.

AA comment

Commenting, Edmund King, AA president, said: "Drivers and indeed many police officers indicate to us that drug driving is a major problem but the severity of the problem is not reflected in the official figures. We must question whether the true extent of the drug/driving problem is being picked up. It is far easier for an accident to be attributed to drink as alcohol is easy to detect through smell and indeed breathalyser technology. We would welcome a fuller investigation into the true extent of drug driving."

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25 September 2008