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30 September 2020

How Safe Are UK Roads? Key Statistics Revealed

by User Not Found

Road safety statistics - something we all need to take seriously. Unfortunately, every year thousands of people lose their lives or get seriously injured due to potentially preventable road accidents.

Taking a closer look at the statistics, you may or may not be surprised by what we uncovered, but the sheer number of incidents is still shocking. Read on to discover the Good, the Bad and the Ugly when it comes to road safety statistics.

1. The Good...

Minor accidents are significantly decreasing; fatal accidents are only slightly decreasing.

Compared to 2017, car drivers appeared to be more cautious in 2018, as minor and fatal accidents decreased in number.

  • Slight car accidents decreased by 7.24%.
  • Fatal car accidents also decreased, but only by 1.89%.
  • Minor motorbike accidents fell by 9.66% from 2017 to 2018. However, figures are still high, with 11,624 reported accidents in 2018.
  • Fatal motorcycle accidents increased by 2.64% in 2018.
  • Fatal accidents in vans and light goods vehicles also decreased by 7.41% (2017-18).

Minibus safety on the roads seems to have generally improved when factoring in the total number of fatal, serious and minor accidents.

Accidents involving minibuses saw an overall decrease of 11.38% between 2017-18, with 457 in 2017 and 405 in 2018. This could be due to the decline in minibus ownership. It seems that fewer people are opting to buy a minibus, with registrations seeing a decline of 2.31% between 2018-17.

Data going back to 1994 shows that 2004 was the most popular time for minibuses, with 104,200 licenses in the UK. Since then, and especially since 2014, the numbers have fallen - and with the decline, fewer minibus accidents have occurred.

2. The Bad

Commuters are more likely to get injured in an accident and serious accidents have increased for taxis and cyclists.

Unfortunately, in 2018, the largest number of reported incidents with personal injuries occurred when people were commuting to and from work, with over 16,000 incidents. This is perhaps unsurprising as roads are the busiest during peak commuting hours, meaning accidents are more likely to happen. We also found that:

  • 2018 saw 76 more serious accidents involving taxi drivers and private cars compared to 2017.
  • Cyclists had 335 more serious accidents in the same time period.

The 83.33% increase of fatal minibus accidents between 2017-18 is shockingly high. However, the number of these accidents in comparison to other vehicles is relatively low, with 11 fatal accidents, 72 serious accidents and 322 slight accidents (2018).

To compare, cars had 1821 fatal, 25,195 serious and 132,412 slight accidents.

3. The Ugly

Motorcycles saw the most fatal or serious accidents on urban roads; pedal cyclists closely followed.

Whilst fatal accidents overall seem to be down year-on-year, there are still some seriously shocking statistics taken from roads all around the UK.

The total number of accidents has decreased since 2017, but 2018 still saw a huge 226,409 reported. Some accidents may not have been reported, as they may not have resulted in any injuries or serious damage.

Drivers on two wheels (both motorbikes and pedal bikes) seem more likely to be involved in a crash on urban UK roads. This can be due to a wide range of reasons – from riders not wearing suitable protection to car drivers not noticing them as much as larger vehicles.

  • Motorcyclists are 52 times more likely to be killed on the roads than any other driver (per mile ridden), with around 10 killed or seriously injured at junctions every day.
  • 17,890 accidents with motorcyclist fatalities occurred on UK roads in 2018.
  • Pedal cyclists also had 18,125 accidents in 2018, the second-largest number after cars.

Males between the age of 40-49 were involved in the most car accidents. Horses, mobility scooters and agricultural vehicles are also responsible for accidents in the UK.

Higher insurance prices have swayed public opinion to think that younger drivers are responsible for most accidents in the UK. In reality, male drivers between the age of 40-49 were involved in the most car accidents in 2018 - 15,513 in total. This is 73% more than 17-19-year-old males, who saw the least number of accidents at 4,239.

Women aren’t excluded from these negative statistics; the same age group of 40-49-year-olds are the women most likely to be involved in an accident. However, the number of accidents is relatively low in comparison to their male counterparts, with only 9,862 reported.

Statistics also show it’s not just cars -- buses and bikes were also involved in serious (and sometimes fatal) accidents. 2018 saw:

  • Three fatal accidents involving ridden horses.
  • 13 fatal accidents involving mobility scooters.
  • 29 fatal accidents with agricultural vehicles.
  • Agricultural vehicles and motorbikes have seen the largest increase in fatal accidents year-on-year compared to other vehicles.
Type of vehicle Built-up areas mph (km/h) Single carriageways mph (km/h) Dual carriageways mph (km/h) Motorways mph (km/h)
Buses, coaches and minibuses (not more than 12 metres overall length) 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 70 (112)
Buses, coaches and minibuses (more than 12 metres overall length) 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 60 (96)

In the event of an accident, whilst travelling abroad minibus drivers must ensure that all necessary documents for journeys abroad are carried. These requirements may vary but some are expected:

  • Full driving license
  • An international driving permit
  • Full passport
  • A European health insurance card for everyone in the vehicle
  • A vehicle registration document

Minibuses are not only used for travelling pleasure, but for work purposes as well. It is important to ensure that Minibus operators have clear policies in place in regards to the hours spent behind the wheel and breaks between shift work. This will minimise the chance of drivers being behind the wheel whilst too tired to drive safely, potentially causing an accident on longer journeys.

Recommended Driver Hours For Drivers Driving Only
Max length of working day* 13 hours
Of which, spent driving 9 hours
Maximum time driving without a break from work 2 hours or sooner if tired
Minimum length of break 15 minutes
Daily rest period 11 hours
Weekly rest period 45 hours

*Taking into account other work undertaken before starting a journey.

A planned journey can help efficiency and preparedness; the last thing needed is drowsiness at the wheel or hasty preparations if involved in an accident. This is why operators should set out rules and procedures for journeys and ensure that drivers are aware of and adhere to these rules.

4. How to Insure Your Vehicle Correctly

In the unfortunate circumstance of an accident, it is vital to not only understand your vehicle, but to know what type of insurance a minibus will need.

Here at Brightside, we offer the following Minibus Insurance packages:

  • Third Party Only Insurance - This is a basic level of cover for other vehicles on the road and usually the cheapest, as the owner’s vehicle would not be covered.
  • Third Party Fire and Theft Insurance - This is the same as Third Party Insurance, with an additional cover of fire damage and theft of vehicle.
  • Fully Comprehensive Insurance - Damage to your vehicle and accident damage is included within this insurance Cover and is the most popular level of cover we offer.
  • You can see more on what Insurance packages we cover, along with how to insure your minibus correctly here

5. Citations


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