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Road Safety Knowledge Centre highlights work-related accident data

6 October 2010

The Road Safety Knowledge Centre, the forum supported by RoadSafe, where road safety professionals can share their knowledge and expertise, has highlighted an indepth study of work-related road accidents provided by the DFT.

Work-related traffic accidents  are the single largest cause of occupational fatality in the United Kingdom.

These accidents vary widely in  type, and include many different sorts of vehicles, with diverse purposes.

The DFT study highlights the results from a sample of 2,111 accident cases, including 1,009 in detail, from Midland police forces.

Each case was summarised on a database and included the main objective features (such as time and place),  a summary narrative, a sketch plan and a list of explanatory factors. The summary narrative also included judgements by the researchers that emphasised the sequence of events leading up to the accident.

The main findings were as follows:

• There were six main classes of vehicle involved, which covered 88% of the sample. These were company cars, vans/pickups, lorries – large goods vehicles (LGVs), buses – passenger carrying vehicles (PCVs), taxis/minicabs and emergency vehicles. Sub-groups in the remaining 12% of the sample included people driving miscellaneous vehicle types and those working in, on, or near the road.

• The drivers of company cars, vans/pickups and lorries (LGVs) all appeared to have a high level of blame in their accident involvement. Company car drivers showed excess speed as a causal factor, whereas van drivers showed more observational failures, and LGV drivers showed more fatigue and vehicle defects as factors.

• The drivers of buses (PCVs), taxis/minicabs and emergency vehicles showed a low ‘level of blame in their accident involvement. Their problems seemed to be primarily with the other drivers/parties with whom they share the road. While they made a variety of mistakes or errors, they were more likely to become the victim of another party’s mistake or error.

• Workers on, in, or near the road seemed to come to grief through the behaviour of drivers who sometimes seemed to be aggressively asserting their right of way over pedestrians with little regard to their safety.