Given the huge safety improvements made to all vehicles and the speed reduction measures in place up and down the country, most would expect to see a fall in the number of deaths on the roads. But police force figures have recently revealed death numbers on roads were higher in 2014 than they had been in 2013.
A spike in road traffic accidents
In Greater Manchester, 54 people were fatally injured on the region’s roads in the 12 months to September last year, compared to 37 in the previous 12 months.
In Milton Keynes, Thames Valley Police have confirmed that the number of those who died in traffic collisions rose by 21, to 78 people killed in 72 traffic collisions.
And on the roads of the East Riding of Yorkshire – many of which along the coast are popular with motorcyclists – road traffic accidents leading to deaths more than doubled, from eight to 17.
Why the spike?
Obviously, there are spikes in figures in every town and city now and then, and many factors come into to play when analysing why these road accidents occurred, and how they could possibly have been prevented.
However, police in the East Riding say poor driving, and driver errors, are the reasons for many fatal traffic accidents.
“A lot of it is poor or careless driving, or driver error. The main thing is you must concentrate fully on your driving,” said Inspector Mark Hughes when quoted in the Hull Daily Mail.
“Certainly some accidents do involve distractions, such as mobile phone use. The modern-day car has a lot of distractions, including sat-navs, which involve drivers looking away from the road.
“Some people are tempted to use their mobile phone while driving – don’t do it. Pull over or wait, don’t answer your phone.”
As experts in handling road accident claims, our team at Neil Hudgell Solicitors sees many cases of this nature.
A lack of focus for just a moment can result in life-changing injuries for a victim, or as these figures show, death.
We most commonly see a spike in road accident and pedestrian injury claims between September and March – the time of the year when roads are more dangerous due to wet and icy conditions, and visibility is reduced due to shorter days and longer nights.
However, we also see many serious, life threatening injuries suffered at this time of year.
When the clocks go forward an hour to mark the start of spring, there is a new danger on the roads – one which can be just as dangerous as those difficult winter driving conditions – driver distraction and complacency.
The improved weather and brighter nights change nothing, but it can lead to drivers acting less responsibly.
Driving safely in spring
Driving in spring and summer is still all about care and focus, and each time a driver gets behind a wheel, they have to recognise and respect the responsibility they have not only for their own safety, but all others on the road.
Road safety campaigns are staged all year round, from campaigns to prevent drink-driving in the build-up to Christmas to those aimed at speeding motorists and those who continue to use their mobile phones at the wheel.
The danger is not in the time of year, nor is it in the weather conditions – it is usually in the driver.
Sensible and appropriate driver behaviour is the key to safety, and as we enter what many regard as the safest period of the year to be on the roads, we all need to remember our duty of care when behind the wheel.
We are responsible not only for our lives, but also the lives of others.