Road Safety: 1,700 Casualties As A Result Of ‘Poor’ Vehicle Maintenance
Recent research has revealed that poorly maintained and defective vehicles were a contributing factor in more than 1,700 road casualties in 2021.
The figures represent a 7% rise against 2020’s figures, while defective brakes were the most common defect in vehicles, causing 750 casualties and 10 fatalities.
Road safety is a pressing concern for all fleet owners, road users, and the authorities as traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels. The data shows that there are still issues, with experts stressing the importance of regular servicing and maintenance of vehicles outside of MOTs.
Fault steering and suspension issues were the second and third most common defects which have highlighted the problem even further.
What’s Being Done To Improve Road Safety?
Issues with defective vehicles leading to road safety issues aren’t anything new.
The reality is that with the combination of the global semiconductor crisis making it more difficult to get new vehicles (with lead times extending beyond 12 months in the last couple of years) and the rising cost of living putting pressure on people and businesses, many are considering delaying servicing and maintenance.
In fact, 18% of drivers have said that they’ll delay replacing tyres, 22% will put off services, and 77% admitted that the rise in the price of energy bills means they may not be able to afford their car.
The government announced the launch of the new Road Safety Investigation Branch (RSIB) in the summer. It will be set up as an independent body to investigate incidents on the roads in the UK, and its remit will also include advising on ways to improve road safety and reduce both the number of incidents and the number of casualties.
When incidents occur on the road, it’s down to the local police and authorities to investigate in the first instance. But once that initial investigation has been concluded, there hasn’t been a system in place to put those incidents into context nationally.
The RSIB will bridge that gap between data held locally across various local authorities and build a picture of the UK’s roads, including motorways, A-roads, B-roads and significant routes.
What Are The Main Concerns?
The creation of a national investigations branch was one of the key outcomes of the Roads Policing Review which highlighted a lack of national oversight on road safety as a significant issue that needed to be addressed.
The data can then be used to get more granular information on the cause of incidents and help to prevent further incidents from occurring.
But with 36 million people in the UK holding a driving licence, millions are potentially putting others are risk by delaying essential maintenance, servicing, and the replacement of worn and defective parts.
Financial issues might be putting a strain on motorists, but it’s now a key concern for many fleets to be aware of.
Do you have any concerns about road safety? And what do you think the Road Safety Investigations Branch should be addressing? Let us know in the comments below.