IAM RoadSmart, a charity dedicated to reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads, is involved in lobbying for improvements in road safety standards and leading the road safety debate with central government and within the motoring community. IAM RoadSmart is an advocate for lifelong personal development of driving and riding skills.
IAM RoadSmart analyses multiple issues and viewpoints when considering ways to improve road safety, not least those of its, 92,000 members. Human factors are one of these – how the driver (or rider) interacts with the journey, the vehicle and the external world – as highlighted by the 2016 government report on road casualties: “All accidents have a cause and that cause is often someone making a mistake or exhibiting dangerous or thoughtless road behaviour”.
The 2017 IAM RoadSmart Safety Culture Index, a study of UK motorists’ attitudes towards driving. The report highlighted that the main areas of concern amongst motorists (who took part in the survey), included: Using a mobile phone whilst driving, aggressive driving and drug driving.
Whilst the UK has seen massive reductions in the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads over the decades, that figure has plateaued at just over 1,700 in recent years (reported road fatalities were 1,792 in 2016, 1,732 in 2015, 1,775 in 2014 and 1,713 in 2013. Reported serious injuries were 24,101 in 2016, 22,137 in 2015, 22,801 in 2014 and 21,657 in 2013).
Added to this, we are less than two decades away from driverless cars becoming popular on our roads. An important area of consideration is how driverless cars will exist on the roads alongside conventionally driven vehicles. What is certain is that the debate will not disappear as technology plays a bigger role in our motoring lives, and IAM RoadSmart will continue to play a central role in it.
IAM RoadSmart’s director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said: “Five years of flat lining road deaths is unacceptable. The huge gains in road safety made in the past now seem a distant memory. The government must show more leadership to really drive down road deaths in the future.”
The charity is calling for an even greater focus on pedestrian protection to make cars safer and raise awareness of the risks.
The figures come from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request made by the IAM, Britain’s biggest independent road safety charity, asking for details of the most common pairs of contributory factors reported together by the police attending the scene of an accident in 2013.
Police can record up to six contributory factors from a list of 77 for each incident to explain why they think a crash took place but the top two give the most obvious reasons for the incident. The statistics come from an analysis of the most recent full year data covering the whole of 2013.
Last month the IAM reported that ‘failure to look properly’ and ‘failure to judge other person's path or speed’ was the biggest pairing of factors when it came to vehicles in accidents. And now the pairings of factors listed by police for all pedestrian casualties in accidents can be revealed.
‘Pedestrian failed to look properly’ with ‘pedestrian careless, reckless or in a hurry’ were named as factors in 4,100 casualty accidents, or 23% of the overall total putting them clearly at Number 1.
The remainder of the factor combinations listed are as follows:
2. ‘Pedestrian crossing road masked by stationary or parked vehicle’ with ‘pedestrian failed to look properly’ - 1,961 casualties (11%)
3. ‘Pedestrian failed to judge vehicle’s path or speed’ with ‘pedestrian careless, reckless or in a hurry - 1,204 casualties (7%)
4. ‘Pedestrian crossing road masked by stationary or parked vehicle’ with ‘pedestrian careless, reckless or in a hurry’ - 1,013 casualties (6%)
The IAM Manifesto makes a number of suggestions on how to protect pedestrians, including making road safety education part of the national curriculum, making pedestrian safety a bigger factor in vehicle design and a long-term engineering programme to deliver safer roads in the UK.
Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer, said: “Pedestrian fatalities are rising faster than any other group right now so it is vital that drivers are more sympathetic and aware of pedestrians when they make their journeys. There is no need to blame any party when it comes to how to reduce the numbers of people killed and injured on our roads – all road users need to look out for each other and ensure we minimise the impact of our own and others unpredictable behaviour."