Research collated by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) shows that driver error and/or slow reactions are the major cause of serious accidents on the roads of the UK over the last 5 years. The research results are leading many industry experts to call on more stringent tests for ordinary drivers, to compare with those who drive specialised vehicles such as those often covered by commercial vehicle insurance.
A catalogue of mistakes
The study into the serious accidents was illuminating. In fatal crashes, reports stated that driver errors such as slow manoeuvres, lack of observation and loss of control of the vehicle was partly responsible in 65% of the incidents. Only slightly less, 61% was the case for serious accidents.
Driver errors such as exceeding the speed limit, making an illegal manoeuvre, or tailgating was cited as the cause in 34% of fatal crashes, with driver inexperience being blamed in 28% of cases. Interestingly enough alcohol was only considered a factor in 1 in 10 serious accidents.
Call for drivers to improve their skills
The results will shock many but come as no surprise to many more. The President of IAM was vociferous in his call for private motorists to emulate professional drivers and seek to improve their skills not just by experience but to undertake advanced tuition.
Professional scheme s point the way
Of course the benefits of companies exercising a continuous professional development scheme for professional drivers are numerous, not only will they stand the driver in good stead in emergency situations but a reduction in his accident rate will lead to cheaper van fleet insurance for the company and more than likely greater fuel efficiency. The Freight Transport Association’s Van Excellence scheme is a good example of this and is being taken up by more companies all the time.
Will the government take action?
IAM do offer packages to private motorists to improve their skills by taking the Advanced driving Test which is principally but not wholly centred round safer driving tactics. One would imagine the fact that driver error is responsible for such a high degree of serious accidents can only make the Government consider more robust assessments of drivers taking the conventional driving test, before they are allowed out on the highways of the UK.