The Causes of Road Traffic Accidents

The Department for Transport revealed earlier this year that despite a seven per cent drop from the year prior, there were 1,760 road related fatalities in 2012. However the number of people to be seriously injured rose by two per cent to around 23,000. That’s at least 60 people injured a day with a further five who lose their lives.

We’ve decided to take a look at the major factors with our list of causes of road traffic accidents.

Speeding
The highest cause of road fatalities, speeding took the lives of 3,267 people in 2011 alone. Those who do not stick to the speed limit not only put pedestrians in danger, but themselves and other passengers. Driving at faster speeds decreases the driver’s reaction times, and at 40mph you’re four times more likely to kill a pedestrian on impact than at the national speed limit of 30mph.

Drink Driving
Drink driving accounts for 12 per cent of all road related deaths, and although the number of causalities is lowering there were still over 200 deaths reported last year. Any amount of alcohol you consume will affect your ability to drive, but the amount differs from one individual to the next. Factors such as sex, height, weight and age means two people can be affected differently by the same volume of alcohol. It isn’t possible to state an exact amount to stay under the legal limit, but it is advised to not drive if you intake any amount.

Not Wearing a Seatbelt
Since 1983, it’s been against the law to not wear a seatbelt – but there are still 21 per cent of drivers who do not wear them when behind the wheel. Statistically, 17-34 year olds are the major culprit, so it’s no surprise to learn they also hold the record for highest accident rate. If you are caught without a seatbelt, you will face an immediate fine of £100 which can rise to £500 if prosecuted.

Distractions
Using a device such as a mobile phone, sat nav or even your car radio will cause distraction to the driver. Your reaction time is reduced by 50 per cent greatly escalating your risk of an accident. November saw Road Safety Week run from 18th-24th, and charity Brake are challenging the government for harsher punishment on drivers. Currently, if you are caught on your mobile phone you could face a fine, points on your license or lose it altogether.

Tiredness
It’s estimated that around 20 per cent of accidents are related to fatigue, with men under 30 having the highest risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Driver’s won’t fall asleep without any warning, so if you are feeling tired it’s best to pull over.

Other minor factors include drivers who are in a hurry and drive carelessly, faults with the vehicle itself, and judgemental errors where drivers underestimate the time it takes to switch lanes or turn onto main roads.

If you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident and need advice or guidance on what to do then get in touch with our solicitors at Paul Rooney who will be more than happy to help. They specialise in road traffic accidents compensation claims.