Absent-Minded Driving ‘Biggest Cause’ of Crashes in Shropshire

6-Jan-2020
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Absent-Minded Driving ‘Biggest Cause’ of Crashes in Shropshire

Absent-minded drivers are the most common culprits when it comes to crashes in Shropshire, according to the Department for Transport.

Statistics from the DfT show drivers or riders that failed to look properly contributed to 177 accidents in Shropshire last year, 77 in Telford & Wrekin and 65 in Powys.

The figures show contributory factors recorded by the police. It showed that 110 accidents in Shropshire were caused by drivers or riders failing to judge another vehicle’s speed, with 37 in Telford & Wrekin.

Officers can choose one or more reasons for any accident where at least one person suffers a slight injury in an incident in a vehicle.

These do not have to involve cars and could, for example, include a cyclist falling over or a motorbike colliding with a pedestrian.

Road Safety Charity Call for Over-hall of Road Safety Measures

Road safety charity Brake has called for a radical overhaul of road safety measures to prevent ‘needless, preventable’ deaths from dangerous driving.

Samuel Nahk, senior public affairs officer at Brake, said: "These figures clearly highlight that driver error is one of the main causes of crashes on our roads, all too often leading to death and serious injury.

"Yet every death and injury on our roads is a needless, preventable tragedy.

"We can mitigate the impact of driver error through a safe systems approach with safer roads, safer vehicles, safer speeds and safer road use, enabling people to move around in safe and healthy ways. 

"Drivers can also reduce their chances of causing a crash by ensuring they stick well within the speed limit, take more time to look carefully at junctions, and giving the road their full attention at all times."

Number of drivers killed on Shropshire Roads

Last year 15 drivers were killed on Shropshire roads, which is better than the year before when police recorded 18 deaths.

Casualties, which include slight injuries, fell from 784 to 648 over the period.

In Telford &Wrekin in 2018, 5 people were killed on the roads. In 2017, police recorded 2 deaths and 52 serious injuries. Casualties, including slight injuries, fell from 310 to 246 over the period.

In Powys, nine people died on its roads last year.

The DfT caution against using year-on-year figures and trends, as some forces changing the way they record the severity of injuries sustained on the roads.

A total of 1784 people were killed on British roads in 2018 and 25,500 suffered with serious injuries.

A DfT spokeswoman said: "We are committed to ensuring our roads are safe for everyone and our comprehensive Road Safety Action Plan sets out more than 70 different measures to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our roads.

"This includes steps to help children understand the dangers near roads and investing in a digital platform to share best practice around cutting road safety risks for older drivers."

Since 2010, the trend has remained fairly level following a continual decline in road deaths over the last 40 years.

What are the dangers of going on autopilot?

Do you find your mind wandering while driving, getting lost in your thoughts and zoning out?

Maybe you drive all the way home but can’t remember how you got there?

It’s a phenomenon which affects many motorists, and while some scientists believe that daydreaming drivers on autopilot are protected by a sixth sense, is your autopilot a good driver?

“Not really,” explains Ira Hyman, PhD, professor of psychology at Western Washington University who published research into being on autopilot.

“We and others have found that people on cell phones are slower to respond to a variety of signals in the environment – in our study, they moved later to avoid the signboard, for example. In driving simulators, when people's minds wander, their driving changes.

“When driving or walking, it's important to be aware of what the objects around you are. Cars, trucks, bikes, and pedestrians all move differently and you need to respond differently to avoid them.

“Your autopilot may not be smart enough to respond well. In addition, much of navigating involves planning—but your autopilot doesn’t plan. That's the job of conscious awareness. This is probably why you forget to stop at the store on the way home: Consciousness is in charge of planning and your autopilot just follows the road and makes last-second adjustments to avoid obstacles.”

‘Defective Tyres’ also leading cause of crashes according to statistics

While absent-minded driving is a big concern for motorists, more statistics from Department for Transport show that it isn’t the only major factor when it comes to causes of crashes on the roads.

 As autumnal weather sets in, the importance of good tyres and brakes are evident. However, according to statistics released in September, defective tyres and brakes contributed to a total of 3,894 crashes in the UK in the last 6 years.

According to the figures released by Department for Transport, defective brakes caused 15 deaths in 2018 – the highest annually for over the last six years.

The data was analysed by Pagid who found that there had been a 67 percent rise in deaths caused by faulty brakes in 2018.

They said that in total there have been 64 fatalities on Britain’s roads due to defective brakes.

Phil Woodcock, of Pagid, said drivers need to actively have their brakes checked more often and shouldn't rely on the MOT test alone to guarantee their safety.

“Drivers need to be able to trust their brakes in extreme situations, and although they are checked during the annual MOT, 12 months is a long time, especially if the car has received an advisory notice that they are partially worn,” he said.

“It is therefore worth getting them checked in-between MOT and service intervals especially if the driver notices any warning signs such as an audible squealing sound or abnormal vibration when the brake is applied.”

100 Vehicles Stopped in Shropshire in Bid to Make Roads Safer

West Mercia Police are also taking action to ensure that roads remain safe for motorists.

They undertook a multi-agency operation during one day where people were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, four vehicles were seized and 20 prohibition notices were issued.

Four vehicles were found to have an insecure load, three with a load of excessive weight and six vehicles had insufficient lights.

Shropshire Safer Communities, Chief Inspector, Sarah Corteen said: “Making our roads safer is a priority for us and our work to reduce the number of deaths or serious injuries caused on our roads is constantly on-going. We know the four most common causes of a collision where someone is killed or seriously injured are using a mobile phone while driving, speeding, drink/drug driving or not wearing a seatbelt and having a visible police presence on the road can help stop those whose driving is a risk to either themselves or other road users.

 “Working in partnership with DVSA means we can seize vehicles that are not fit for the road. If the vehicle is not roadworthy, not taxed or the driver is not insured we will seize it and take it off the road, making the road safer for all road users.

 “These vehicle checks are also an effective way of denying criminals using the road network to travel through our county to commit crime by disrupting them and their criminal activity. We know most of our rural crime is committed by criminals travelling into our county and will do all we can to disrupt and deter them from coming here to commit crime.”

5 Comments
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Steve Boitoult
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1/12/2020 11:23:59 PM
16 days ago
I agree about the "autopilot" I see a lot of drivers using it on my daily travels round Shropshire. But a lot of this use is down to how much of the driver's work is now done by the car. Cars have become much TOO easy to drive, so the driver's attention can wander, often fatally! I drive a 70s car, uprated mechanically to cope with modern conditions, bigger brakes, more power, firmer suspension. But no PAS, ABS, traction control, aircon or any of these devices. I actually have to drive it! It really is a lot of fun, much more so than modern "white goods" cars. But the other problem I find amongst other road users in our fair county is that of driving too SLOWLY! The bulk of my driving is on NSL roads (60 mph limit) yet the majority of other motorists don't exceed 45! And this is why so many dangerous overtaking manoevers are executed. I'm not talking about pulling 60 on single track twisty lanes, that's stupid, but we have some lovely 2 lane blacktop with open, sweeping curves, just right for smooth quick progress, yet most folk insist on dawdling along at 40 or so. I'm very calm by nature, but this does get my goat!
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PM1
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1/12/2020 9:56:08 AM
16 days ago
Driving standards are appalling - too fast, inconsiderate, aggressive and selfish in many cases. All drivers should be re-tested at five year intervals and pay for it. It is a privilege to drive on our rides, so we should respect that along with the safety and environmental consequences.
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Jojo
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1/12/2020 8:50:18 AM
16 days ago
Maybe an introduction of cats eyes in the middle of the roads as white paint doesn’t clearly define the road like the cats eyes. Helps the driver to focus on the road ahead and the lights on some cars are like full beams as they are led. Very blinding and cats eyes would help to bring the eye down to the road and not get blinded
User Icon
Jojo
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1/12/2020 8:50:18 AM
16 days ago
Maybe an introduction of cats eyes in the middle of the roads as white paint doesn’t clearly define the road like the cats eyes. Helps the driver to focus on the road ahead and the lights on some cars are like full beams as they are led. Very blinding and cats eyes would help to bring the eye down to the road and not get blinded
User Icon
Helena Gill
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1/6/2020 11:09:29 PM
22 days ago
In my experience there are too many drivers driving too fast and trying to overtake by unacceptable means eg the wrong side and cutting in. I experienced a driver going round the wrong way on a mini roundabout in order to overtake me!
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