Driver error 'top cause of crashes'

The top three causes of serious road accidents can be attributed to driver and rider error, a study has shown.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists conducted an analysis of accident data recorded by the police between 2005 and 2009.

Findings reveal that the top factors for crashes included drivers and riders failing to look properly, losing control or making poor turns or manoeuvres.

According to the road safety charity, the second biggest crash factor involved drivers and riders making illegal or unwise decisions such as speeding, tailgating or making an illegal turn.

Drivers and riders were also blamed for their behaviour or inexperience, which emerged as the third biggest cause of accidents and usually results in a hike incar insurance premiums.

The research found that alcohol was a relatively minor factor - listed in just 10% of fatal crashes - while external factors such as road environment, conditions affecting vision, and vehicle defects contributed to very few accidents.

According to the study, "travelling too fast for the conditions" accounted for more fatal accidents than "exceeding the speed limit" - suggesting that drivers might be risking themselves even without violating any official speed limits by ignoring road conditions.

Simon Best, chief executive, IAM, said: "Having a driving licence doesn't necessarily mean that drivers have the skills they need to be safe. Accidents could be easily reduced by improving driver skills and lives could be saved - especially those of young drivers."

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