Most common causes of road traffic accidents

According to statistics released by the Department for Transport, there were a total of 140,086 road traffic accidents in the UK that resulted in personal injury in 2015. That works out at almost 12,000 a month, or just under 400 every day.

woman using phone in carOf those accidents that are reported, a total of 1,618 resulted in at least one fatality – which works out as more than four road accidents every day that result in a fatality.

There are many different causes of road traffic accident, and we have identified the most common below…

Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs

Despite frequent campaigns and heavier penalties, drunk drivers are still a major cause of road traffic accidents and related injuries.

Alcohol can significantly impair judgement and slows down reaction times, which can lead to very serious accidents on the road.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the legal limit for driving is 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood; 35 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of breath and 107 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of urine. It therefore does not take much for drivers to be over the legal alcohol limit.


Again, there have been numerous campaigns about driving while tired, but this is still a very common cause of road traffic accidents.

Similarly to alcohol, tiredness can severely reduce reaction times, impair judgement and lead to erratic and unpredictable behaviour like veering into other lanes, sudden speed changes, late or heavy braking etc… – all of which can increase the risk of being involved in an accident.


Unsurprisingly, speed is one of the major causes of road traffic accidents in the UK.

Many motorists are guilty of driving over the speed limit, often without realising they are doing so, despite being aware of the risks.

Put simply, the faster you drive the less time you have to react – giving you less time to prevent a serious accident from happening. Also, the risk of death is around four times higher for a pedestrian who is hit at 40mph rather than at 30mph.

Driver distraction

Whether it’s glancing at a mobile phone, talking to a passenger or changing the radio station, there are many ways a driver can be distracted while in control of a motor vehicle.

All distractions, however small, can lead to the driver losing concentration – which can result in serious car accidents and injuries.


Driving safely can become increasingly difficult in adverse weather conditions, and in the UK we regularly get the full mixture of weather – sometimes in the same day! Rain, snow, ice, sun glare, heavy winds, fog etc… all pose their own challenges to drivers and can lead to accidents on the road.

Make a claim…

If you have been injured following a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Contact CL Legal today to discuss how we can help you on a No Win No Fee basis…

Start your claim Request call back

Contact Info

CL Legal Limited

Centric House

15-33 Moorfields


L2 2RU

0800 010 60 66

CL Legal Limited is a limited company registered in England and Wales (Registered Number 08105781) which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority - SRA Number 573700