Fleet News

Tailgating collisions halve in five years

motorway traffic

The number of reported road accidents where ‘following too close to another vehicle’ was a contributory factor has almost halved in the last five years, according to analysis by TrackDays.co.uk.

Analysis of figures from the Department for Transport, by the driver training provider, highlighted that the number of reported accidents where following too close was a contributory factor have dropped by 48% year-on-year, from 7,023 in 2015 to just 3,582 in 2019, the latest year for which full figures are available.

It is one of the largest percentage drops of all the contributory causes of accidents caused by a lack of judgement.

Tailgating remains a factor in around one in eight casualties on England’s motorways and major A roads.

Dan Jones, operations manager at TrackDays.co.uk, said: “It’s very welcome to see such a dramatic drop in the number of reported accidents when following too close was a contributory factor.

“It could be due to a number of factors, perhaps most importantly though advanced safety features on modern cars, such as adaptive cruise control which help keep a safe distance from the car in front. But it would also be nice to think that drivers are now calmer and more considerate to their fellow road users.”

Earlier this year, new cameras aimed at catching drivers tailgating identified some 10,000 vehicles committing the offence in the first two weeks of trials.

A survey for Highways England found that while more than a quarter of drivers admitted to tailgating, nearly nine in 10 people say they have either been tailgated or seen it. 

Meanwhile, more welcome news highlighted how the number of reported accidents when travelling too fast for the conditions was a contributory factor was also on a long-term decline, showing a significant decrease from 7,361 in 2015 to 4,666 in 2019, a decrease of 36%.

Additionally, there are also fewer reported accidents when disobeying automatic traffic signals, and disobeying ‘Give Way’ or ‘Stop’ signs and markings was a contributory factor.

Jones added: “Brits do appear to be becoming safer motorists in certain areas of driving, which has to be good news for all road users.”


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