The Biggest Lie of All

"A third of accidents are caused by speed"


The road safety industry have long asserted that speed causes a third of accidents, and this has become a fundamental plank of their road safety thinking, such as it is.

However, they admit that proper research into accident causation has never been carried out. [PACTS 1997]

The Transport Research Laboratory was commissioned to investigate a new type of form for police officers to report on road traffic accidents they attend. This form was designed to produce more accurate data on causal factors.

The results of this investigation, published in report TRL323, showed that excess speed was a factor (but not necessarily the only factor) in 7.3% of accidents.

Of course, this small problem did not divert the DLTR, who were by this time politically welded to the great 'one third' lie.

They got around their little problem by defining all sorts of other accident causes as "speed related" until they managed to get them to add up to a third.

Here the ABD exposes this and demonstrates the complete bankruptcy of thought prevalent in the road safety industry today.

Below is the table from TRL323 report (Page 9, Table 2) upon which the 'one third' lie is based.

The accident causes highlighted in green are those which the government claims are 'speed related'. Adding these up gives a total of 30%, which they then conveniently round up to 'one third'.

On the right are our comments on each of these items.

Accident Cause Definite factors ABD comments
Qtt %
Failure to judge other persons path or speed 623 10.7%It is utter nonsense to class this as a 'speed related accident'. The situation here is one person failing to judge the path or speed of a second vehicle — which is not to say that the second vehicle is travelling at an inappropriate or illegal speed. It is purely a failure to observe correctly on the part of the first party.
Behaviour - careless/thoughtless/reckless5138.8% 
Inattention4658.0% 
Looked but did not see4367.5% 
Excessive speed 424 7.3%This is the only cause that is genuinely to do with speed. Note the percentage of 7.3%, hardly one third is it? Nor it is even the most significant cause of accidents, it comes fifth. We guess that telling the public that speed is responsible for only one thirteenth of accidents just didn't suit their purpose, so they dropped a '1' and made it one third instead.
Lack of judgment of own path3696.3% 
Failed to look3656.2% 
Following too close 238 4.1%Again absolutely nothing to do with speed, you can drive too close to the vehicle in front at 1mph!
Impairment — alcohol2223.8% 
Slippery road 175 3.0%Now they are really getting silly. Imagine a truck spills diesel onto a 30mph road. You are driving along this road at 30mph and skid on the diesel patch resulting in an accident, and they claim this is a speed related accident? Twaddle, absolute twaddle.
Inexperience of driving1632.8% 
Behaviour — in a hurry 157 2.7%Being in a hurry does not mean travelling at excessive speed, it could include not waiting patiently at junctions, roundabouts or pedestrian crossings; not giving way to other traffic. If the vehicle was travelling at excessive speed the accident cause would be classed under 'Excessive Speed'.
Site details — bend / winding road1312.2% 
Surroundings — stationary or parked vehicle1121.9% 
Crossed from behind parked vehicle, etc1051.8% 
Surroundings — bend / winding road1041.8% 
Behaviour — panic911.6% 
Aggressive driving 80 1.4%Again, this is not speed related, you can be aggressive at 5mph in a supermarket car park!
Behaviour — nervous / uncertain691.2% 
Other — (personal)641.1% 
Impairment — illness581.0% 
Distraction — physical outside vehicle571.0% 
Surroundings — buildings, fences, vegetation561.0% 
Failed to see pedestrian or vehicle in blindspot561.0% 
View — glare from the sun550.9% 
Impairment — fatigue480.8% 
Weather (eg mist or sleet) 45 0.8%Perhaps the most ridiculous of all. This means that the accident was caused by the weather not speed, i.e. the vehicle was travelling at a perfectly reasonable speed but encountered some unexpected problem such as flooding on the roadway, or black ice. Again, if the vehicle at been travelling at excessive speed for the conditions it would have been classed under 'Excessive Speed' above.
Distraction — physical in/on vehicle450.8% 
Site details — narrow road410.7% 
Distraction — stress / emotional state of mind390.7% 
Inexperience of vehicle370.6% 
Surroundings — moving vehicle310.5% 
Animal out of control290.5% 
Site details — steep hill280.5% 
Other vehicle defects260.4% 
Tyres — deflation before impact260.4% 
Tyres — worn / insufficient tread260.4% 
Other (Local conditions) 24 0.4%The inclusion of 'other' is an indication of the extent of the government's addiction to speed. They are so convinced that speed is the be-all and end-all of accident causation that if they can't attribute an accident to anything else, they conclude it must be speed related.
Site details — poor road surface230.4% 
Site details — roadworks230.4% 
Interaction or competition with other road users230.4% 
Defective brakes220.4% 
Site details — inadequate signing170.3% 
Impairment — drugs170.3% 
Ignored lights at crossing150.3% 
Person hit wore dark or inconspicuous clothing150.3% 
Disability140.2% 
Site details — poor / no street lighting140.2% 
Tyres — wrong pressure90.2% 
View — windows obscured60.1% 
High winds60.1% 
Defective lights or signals50.1% 
Earlier accident40.1% 
View — glare from headlights10.0% 
Number of factors reported5847100% 

 
The Truth

 
The government are so addicted to the notion the speed is the major cause of accidents that they are prepared to go to any lengths to make the public believe it. Even when their blatant lies are exposed, they still continue to peddle them.
 
You can fool some of the people all of the time,
and all of the people some of the time,
but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865
Why do they lie about speed?

So they can:

Speed is simply not the issue it is made out to be. Sheer bad driving is the cause of most accidents, and travelling at excessive speed for the conditions is just another form of bad driving. Yet the government does virtually nothing to improve general driving standards. It even takes experienced police patrols off our roads, which makes the situation worse!
 
The government is not really interested in improving road safety, it is only interested in making life hell for drivers.