Lawford Kidd's Blog

Lawford Kidd's injury solicitors' blog designed to cover all areas of the law relating to accident compensation claims, injury claims and no win no fee in Scotland.

Road Traffic Accidents: Have Yourself a Cautious Little Christmas

Whilst Santa's sleigh has the luxury of open sky and a set of trusty reindeer (including one red nosed fellow) to make sure he stays on course, for many of us, Christmas presents a real danger. Thousands take to the icy roads to navigate their way to social events, nativity plays whilst running the risk of a serious accident on Britain's roads.

With Christmas parties, office get-togethers and an increase in alcohol consumption, not to mention the hazardous weather, Christmas can be a very dangerous time to take to the road with accidents rising throughout the festive period.

Winter Weather

Frosty conditions mean that driving can be more difficult with ice and snow giving drivers less control over their vehicle. Allowing extra time before setting off to your destination, keeping a close eye on speed and winter tyres can help reduce the number of road accidents over Christmas. The festive period is one of the worst times for accidents across the UK, with a combination of drinking and dangerous conditions making it a lethal time on the roads. Wintery conditions result in reduced vision for drivers, with commuters being encouraged to take their time when setting off. If you are involved in an accident it is crucial that you take as much detail as you can to be able to prove that the incident was a result of negligent driving.

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Roads fit for a Queen

In the run up to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has taken a look back over how roads and road safety have changed since the Queen came to the throne sixty years ago.

Key developments include:

  • Since 1952, over 313,000 people have died on UK roads.
  • The good news is that the number of road victims is on the decrease. In 1952, 13 people a day died on our roads, compared to five a day now. When increased vehicle numbers are taken into account, roads are actually six times safer.
  • Today’s roads would be beyond recognition to drivers in 1952. Vehicle numbers have steadily increased from four million to 34 million in the last 60 years.
  • Many important road safety laws have been brought in during the Queen’s reign, including the MOT test, drink drive limit, and compulsory seatbelt and motorcycle helmet wearing.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Road safety gets better by the year, and the technology of roads and cars improves all the time.

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Drivers regularly risking lives on motorways

More than half of drivers (53%) are risking deadly pile-ups on motorways by driving too close to the vehicle in front, according to research by Brake and Direct Line. More drivers are taking this deadly risk compared to seven years ago (49%), and men are far more likely to do it than women, with a horrifying three in ten male drivers (30%) doing so at least weekly.

In Great Britain in 2010, 263 people were killed and 1,445 seriously injured in road crashes on motorways and 70mph roads.

While there are fewer crashes per mile travelled on motorways, crashes on these roads have an increased risk of death or serious injury because of the speeds involved. Crashes on 70mph roads are more than twice as likely to result in death than crashes on roads with lower speed limits.

Almost one in five fatal crashes on motorways involve four or more vehicles. These kinds of crashes often cause multiple deaths and injuries, and the resulting congestion and tailbacks can cause further crashes.

 

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Zero tolerance on drink driving

Members of the public and young people in particular are being urged to take a zero tolerance approach to drink-driving this festive season to help prevent devastating Christmas tragedies.

A survey of young drivers, released by Brake and Direct Line, finds a shocking three in ten (29%) are willing to take the deadly gamble of driving after drinking alcohol. An even bigger proportion – 53%, up from 45% four years ago – risk driving drunk the day after a heavy night, suggesting widespread complacency about how long alcohol stays in your system.

In 2010, one in seven road deaths involved drink drivers. Around 250 road deaths and 1,230 road casualties occurred when someone was over the drink drive limit. Many more drink-drive crashes are caused by drivers who only have small amounts of alcohol in their blood. A further estimated 65 road deaths per year are caused by drivers who are under the drink-drive limit, but who have a significant amount of alcohol in their blood. Research shows that even very small amounts of alcohol significantly increase reaction times and therefore the risk of crashing.

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Accident death toll unacceptable price to pay for mobility

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for more to be done to improve road safety in a message issued in advance of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, which is to be observed on 20th November.

The message reports that each day nearly 3,500 people die on the roads, tens of thousands more are injured, and families are broken apart. Road accidents have become the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 29. This is an unacceptable price to pay for mobility.

The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, which began in May this year, has the goal of saving five million lives. A global plan for the decade provides a framework for Governments, civil society and the private sector to work together to improve road management, upgrade the safety of roads and vehicles, and educate drivers, passengers and pedestrians on safe behaviour.

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