The fatal five

There are five main causes of serious injuries and deaths on the region’s roads. They are known as the ‘fatal five'.


They are:

  1. Inappropriate or excessive speed
  2. Not wearing a seat belt
  3. Driver distractions including using mobile devices such as phones, 'sat navs' and tablets
  4. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  5. Careless and inconsiderate driving

98% of collisions

98% of collisions are caused by human error, with only 2% caused by unavoidable issues, such as mechanical failure.

The five most risky behaviours are:

1: Excess or inappropriate speed

Here are some tips to help stay within the speed limit

  • Check your speedometer regularly
  • Know the limits - look for signs, especially at junctions
  • Street lighting means 30mph, until signs say otherwise
  • Try using 3rd gear in a 30mph limit to help you stay within the limit

2: Failure to wear seatbelts

By law, you must wear a seatbelt in cars and goods vehicles where one is fitted.

The driver is liable to prosecution if a child under 14 years does not wear a seat belt or child restraint as required.

There are very few exceptions to this.

The only situations when you don't need to wear a seatbelt are if you're

  • A driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing
  • In a vehicle being used for police, fire and rescue services
  • A passenger in a trade vehicle and you're investigating a fault
  • Driving a goods vehicle on deliveries that is travelling no more than 50 metres between stops
  • A licensed taxi driver who is 'plying for hire' or carrying passengers
  • If you are medically exempt from wearing a seat belt, when your doctor will give you a 'Certificate of Exemption'

3: Driver using a hand-held mobile phone

It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device while driving a vehicle, riding a motorcycle or supervising a learner.

When you are caught using a mobile device while driving, you will be issued with a fixed penalty notice and will receive a £200 fine and six points on your license. (www.gov.uk) If you are a relatively new driver or already have penalty points on your license you could end up off the road very quickly by incurring six more points.

Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500.

What should you do?

Either switch off your phone or divert to voicemail, before setting off. If your phone does ring, leave it and pick up any messages and make calls once you are safely parked with the engine switched off and keys out of the ignition.

Did you know?

Research has shown that those using a mobile phone while driving are four times more likely to crash than someone who isn't.

Even though hands-free kits are legal, it is also worth knowing that tests have shown people using these kits can be as distracted as if they were driving drunk.

4: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

The penalties for drink and drug driving are the same. You will receive

  • A 12-month driving ban
  • An unlimited fine
  • Up to 6 months in prison for some offences
  • A criminal record

A driver found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving will go to prison for up to 14 years.

A conviction for drug driving is shown on your driving license for 11 years.

If you drive for work, your employer will see the conviction when you show them your license.

What's the legal limit?

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the legal alcohol limit for drivers is

  • 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood in your body
  • 35 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of breath
  • 107 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of urine

The limits for alcohol and drugs are irrelevant if your driving and behaviour are deemed to be unfit or if you have been involved in a collision.

Please note: the police recommend that if you're drinking any alcohol, let someone else do the driving.

5: Careless and inconsiderate driving

There is no standard list that would be considered as careless or inconsiderate driving, however, the General Advice section of the Highway Code provides some good examples.

For example

  • Rule 147: Be considerate
  • Rule 148: Safe driving and riding needs concentration and
  • Rule 150: You MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times.

Any breach of the Highway Code could be treated as an offence if seen by officers.

Examples of dangerous behaviours include

  • Driving too close to the vehicle in front
  • Failing to give way at a junction
  • Inappropriate speed for the road and conditions, even if within the speed limit
  • Operating a Sat Nav while driving
  • Eating and drinking at the wheel
  • Under-taking or dangerous over-taking

If you commit one of these offences you are not only putting your life at risk, but also the lives of any passengers you are carrying as well as other road users and pedestrians.

Watch now: The Dorset's No Excuse campaign. Tackling the Fatal Five.

Watch now: The fatal four made by West Yorkshire Police.


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