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Had a road accident? It’s most likely your fault

Driver error continues to be the biggest cause of road accidents on British roads, according to new figures analysed by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

Figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) show that ‘driver and rider error or reaction’ was cited as a contributory factor in 74 per cent of accidents involving 117,524 casualties in 2014 ─ 20,830 in London alone.

That’s nearly three times more than the next biggest contributory factor, ‘behaviour or inexperience’, which accounted for 40,778 casualties (9,508 happened in London) and was cited in 26 per cent of all accidents.

‘Injudicious action’ (that’s an unwise decision or very poor judgement) was the third biggest factor, accounting for 25 per cent of accidents and 39,354 casualties.

‘Impairment’ took fourth place, with 14 per cent of the vote or 21,916 casualties, narrowly beating ‘road environment’ and its 20,253 casualties (13 per cent). Meanwhile ‘vehicle defects’ accounted for just two per cent or 3,230 casualties, suggesting blaming the car is unlikely to wash with police.

IAM policy and research director Neil Greig said: “People often blame their car, the road, or the other driver for the accidents and near misses that they have. These figures show that in the vast majority of cases, it’s the driver or rider themselves who is to blame.

“Changing attitudes is the key factor when it comes to reducing the numbers of casualties on our roads. People must accept responsibility for enhancing their own skills and recognising their limitations.

“It is not enough to leave people to their own devices once they have passed their test. Like so many other areas of life extra coaching pays dividends – and for a driver or rider, that means keeping their skills fresh by continuous assessment.”

IAM has called for British drivers to ‘look on improving driving skills’ even after they pass their test to help reduce the figures. Another possible solution would be to make the driving test more difficult and include motorway and night driving to ensure the basic level of ability of newbies is higher.

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