Driver Error Causes Most Crashes Says New Report

Thu 7th Apr 2022

Latest research from one of the UK’s biggest motor insurance providers has revealed that fatal road crashes are on the rise.

According to the analysis from Churchill Motor Insurance there were 223,000 road traffic incidents between 2018 and 2020, with accidents resulting in death or serious injury rising from 24 per cent to 28 per cent, the equivalent of 43 more serious events per 1,000 collisions.

While driver error could technically be applied to most accidents, it officially only accounts for 66 per cent of accidents, which is by far the leading factor in road traffic accidents, well ahead of behaviour or inexperience (23%) and injudicious action (20%).

While many might complain that faulty brakes, or an engine failure led to their accident, vehicle defects only actually caused 1.8 per cent of accidents.

“The rising number of incidents on our roads leading to death or serious injury is deeply concerning. We know the main causes of these incidents are often down to errors and poor reactions, something that could easily be prevented,” said Nicholas Mantel, Head of Churchill Motor Insurance.

“Avoiding alcohol consumption, getting a good night’s sleep, and focusing on the road rather than multi-tasking, can all help motorists have safer journeys and reduce these risk factors. If all road users just take a few extra seconds to check around them for potential hazards, our roads will be a safer place for all.”


Cause group

Number of accidents in which this is a contributing factor

Share of accidents in which this is a contributing factor

Driver/Rider error or reaction


66.1 per cent

Behaviour or inexperience


23.2 per cent

Injudicious action


20.4 per cent

Impairment or distraction


15.6 per cent

Road environment contributed


11.7 per cent

Vision affected by external factors


10.3 per cent

Vehicle defects


1.8 per cent