• 20 Oct 2022

1,759 road casualties linked to vehicle defects last year

Defective and poorly-maintained vehicles were linked to 1,759 road casualties recorded in 2021. Issues such as defective lights, worn tyres and ineffective brakes caused a 7% rise on the previous year.

The number of road casualties caused by defective / faulty vehicles in 2021 continued to be impacted by the UK restrictions following the coronavirus pandemic, including a period of lockdown in the first quarter of the year. There was a rise in casualty numbers compared to 2020, which was also affected by the pandemic, but 2021 statistics remained lower than the pre-pandemic (2019) levels. Overall, casualties caused by defective / faulty vehicles have generally followed trends in traffic in recent years.

The statistics show that in 2021 there were:
1759 reported casualties caused by defective / faulty vehicles, an increase of 7% over 2020 but a decrease of 5.5% from pre-pandemic levels (2019)
750 casualties caused by defective brakes, an increase of 5% from pre-pandemic levels (2019)
174 casualties caused by defective lights or indicators, an increase of 7% from pre-pandemic levels (2019)

The fact that there was a decrease of 5.5% on overall vehicle defects, yet an increase of 7% on defective lights and an increase of 5% on defective brakes, highlights that although other major issues are being rectified prior to the use of vehicles, issues such as worn pads or burnt out bulbs are still going unnoticed or ignored by many drivers.

Tyres were the second most common defect linked to accidents and being a contributing factor in 491 casualties, however there was a 18% decrease from pre-pandemic levels (2019). This data shows that road campaigns and overhead motorway warnings have helped to infiltrate the mindset of drivers when it comes to the health of their tyres.

Although the decrease is significant, there were still 491 casualties and worn and under-inflated tyres were the most common cause of deaths, with 12 people needlessly losing their lives in collisions involving vehicles with bad tyres.

Maintenance inspections MOT's and servicing are more than just health checks. They can be live-saving interventions that reduce the number of road casualties across the country. Many of the casualties within the report could easily have been avoided with a pre-use vehicle inspection. Inspections enable drivers to easily identify and rectify issues prior to driving. Many components on a car are vitally important to the function and safety of a vehicle and yet they are so often overlooked or ignored.

A recent article on the ThisIsMoney website delves deeper in the statistics and throws up some worrying concerns about how the cost of living crisis may have an impact on vehicle safety with growing concerns that car owners are considering delaying or cancelling their vehicle's scheduled servicing this year in order to save money during the cost-of-living crunch. Indeed a report from the Motor Ombudsman published in April found that a third of UK drivers are planning to spend less on car maintenance due to the squeeze on household budgets. To read more from this article see click here.

There are an estimated 3 million company cars on the roads and roughly 1 in 3 will be involved in an accident each year. If a vehicle (owned, leased or hired) is used for work, it is covered under the regulations of PUWER. PUWER requires that all vehicles are suitable and safe for its intended use, regularly inspected and maintained in good repair. Something as simple as running out of screen wash can leave both driver and others around them in a life-threatening position.

Regularly reviewing vehicles as part of a preventative maintenance and safety regime will reduce maintenance costs and improve workplace safety. By implementing regular inspections the chance of spotting hazards are greatly increased ensuring the company can take action before it causes minor injury, serious harm or death.

TakeAIM is a safety inspection and maintenance APP (free on both GooglePlay and App Store) which enables companies to complete inspections of absolutely ANY equipment type. Coupled with a web platform, TakeAIM provides analysis, visibility and insights to help companies manage workplace equipment. Each inspection is automatically sent to management via wifi (inspections can be completed without wifi - once connection is re-established) with the ability to attach photos or annotations to provide additional information on faults or advisories found.

The web platform also hosts a maintenance log which allows you to easily monitor the time taken to resolve issues, keep track of who is responsible and even keep a record of replacement parts ordered. Registering an account takes a minute, plus you'll have access to the system for 7 days completely free (no credit card details required). If you find TakeAIM useful and wish to stay with us after the 7 day free trial, the good news is that TakeAIM is a pay as you go system - there's no monthly contract and credit bundles start at an amazing £10 for 25 inspections. Click here to view all our pricing bundles.

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