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 figures come from a Freedom of Information request by the IAM, Britain’s biggest independent road safety charity, to every police force in England and Wales.
The statistics cover the two years from August 2013 to August 2015. A total of 17,468 people were convicted of this charge in this time period.
Some 33 out of 43 police forces responded to the IAM’s request. The force area with the highest number of people convicted was Essex (3,630), followed by Humberside (1,998), Nottinghamshire (1,139), Derbyshire (949) and Hampshire (929).
On 16 August 2013 police were given the power to give on-the-spot penalties for drivers who put other road users’ lives at risk for offences such as tailgating and poor lane discipline (reference 1).
The rest of the top 12 overall numbers of people convicted according to police force area were:
6. Thames Valley: 924
7. Surrey: 830
8. West Yorkshire: 804
9. Cheshire 720
10. Greater Manchester 607
11. Lancashire 578
12. Dyfed-Powys 440
Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer, said: “While these offences fall under the lower end of the scale for motoring transgressions, such driving behaviour could easily have caused a serious accident.
“Tailgating is an aggressive action designed to intimidate another driver, while unpredictable lane-changing is both thoughtless and dangerous.
“We hope these on-the-spot fines and remedial courses have helped concentrate the drivers’ minds and make them think twice about these potentially hazardous manoeuvres in the future.”
In the case of Essex with the highest number of people convicted 2,958 of them undertook a course, 484 went to court and 188 took a conditional offer.
In Humberside, the second highest area 1,469 attended and completed a retraining course and 364 have been put forward for consideration for court prosecution.
Nottinghamshire’s 1,139 were issued with fixed-penalty notices and a summons to court issued to 72 of those.
A more detailed breakdown of actions deemed to qualify for the offence of careless driving was provided Merseyside Police; which showed 32 drove on the wrong side of the road, or the wrong way down a road (driving without due care and attention), 13 for bad driving at a roundabout (same category), 12 for tailgating and two for intimidating or obstructing a cyclist.
A full list of all 33 police areas who responded, and number and breakdown of careless driving offences is downloadable.