Road Safety Risk Management

Being involved in an incident on the road is unlikely to be high on your list of desired outcomes when setting off on a journey.  There were 1,775 deaths on the UK roads in 2014, a shocking waste of life.  It is the responsibility of all road users to ensure that they minimise the risk of being involved in any accident.  Significant work and progress has been made; 2014’s statistics represent an improvement from the average in the decade ending in 2010 of 2,996 deaths per annum.


There were 115,673 accidents where a police officer attended the scene in 2014.  To put that in context 317.8 billion vehicle miles were travelled on the UK’s roads in 2015; so a reported incident every 2.7 million miles travelled.  Effective Road safety risk management must be the first consideration of any commercial vehicle operator; there is an immense amount of data available in the public realm, and technology available to reduce your risk of being a number in the statistics.

There is a site ( where you can view on a map where reported incidents have occurred.  The image below shows the incidents in the last 5 years around my neighbourhood in the sunny metropolis of Northampton.  Given how people drive on my road I’m amazed that there have been no reported incidents.  It is useful to know where and why accidents occur so that you can modify your driving behaviour to suit conditions.


Crash map screenshot

Understanding why accidents occur is crucial in developing strategies to reduce your risk of being involved in one.  Observation is of course of paramount importance, being the single most important common contributory factor to accidents noted by police reporting (noted in 46% on incidents in 2014).

Top 5 contributory factors in reported road accidents graph

Contributory factors allocated in road accidents

Split by vehicle types ‘failure to look properly’ is even more common as a contributory factor amongst larger vehicles.

Top 4 contributory factors allocated to vehicles in reported accidents graph

The chart below sets out miles travelled by road type in Great Britain.  Motorway traffic is of course by far the largest %.  In terms of fatalities however Motorway accidents account for a significantly lower proportion of deaths; as you can see from the bar chart below.

Rolling annual index of road traffic graph

Fatalities by road class graph

There is an interesting blog on the Brake charities website looking at how emotions can stop people from driving safely.  Anger, anxiety, stress and positive emotions can all cause a loss of focus that increase the risks of you being involved in an accident.  In a recent survey only 50% of people recognised that human error was a common cause of crashes on the road.  Thames Valley Police, on the contrary assert that 95% of all road crashes are due to human error.

For the Commercial Vehicle operator, telematics and camera systems can be an invaluable aid in monitoring driver behaviours and focussing driver training to reduce the risks of being involved in an accident.  The technology and data in the public realm should enable us to reduce accident and injury on the roads and ensure they are as safe a place as they can be.



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  1. Michael Martin says:

    Very interesting set of graphs Stuart. Some things never alter but, if I have read the info correctly, the net number of fatalities does seem to be going in the right direction.