There’s no doubt fatal road accidents are horrific and extremely traumatic for those directly involved and can be for observers too.

Britain has one of the best road safety records in Europe – but speeding vehicles still kill motorists and pedestrians every year.

There have been numerous campaigns highlighting the devastating consequences of driving at high speeds.

The logical explanation behind reducing speeds has long been if a driver hits someone at the recommended national speed limit, the higher the chances of survival for the victim.

In contrast if a driver hits someone whilst rocketing through the road the person is likely to sustain a fatal injury or be killed instantly.

The history behind speeding campaigns

Going back to 1896, Bridget Driscoll was the first person ever to fall victim to a speeding driver and was sadly killed.

Two years later in 1899 the first major disaster involving the driver and passengers occurred.

The driver attempted to turn a corner at 25mph at which point the wheels gave way and the people in the car were flung out, with the driver and front seat passenger killed.

The story was widely published and newspapers began to promote responsible driving cutting down speeds.

Has the scene changed?

The short answer is yes, and very much so.

Britain today, thanks to its road safety measures, has one of the best records in Europe.

Traffic on the road is noticeably increasing but the number of people killed has been reduced from 5,500 per year in the mid 1980s to 1,754 in 2012.

It’s fair to say speeding hasn’t been banished altogether as figures show 400 people a year still lose their lives to speeding drivers and is still considered to be one of the main factors.

However, speed isn’t the only thing that causes accidents; the bulk is actually caused by driver error and carelessness.

This is what the figures say, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents:

  • Drink driving

Driving after having a drink kills 280 people are year and the drivers are usually over the limit.

  • Careless driving

300 hundred deaths are caused by a driver being “careless, reckless or in a hurry” and another 125 involve “aggressive driving”.

  • Inexperience

More than 400 people are killed due to collisions with young drivers aged 17 to 24 years old.

Drug-driving is also a problem, according to AA president Edmund King. He said: “Drivers and indeed many police officers indicate to us that drug-driving is a major problem but the severity of the problem is not reflected in the official figures.

“We must question whether the true extent of the drug-driving problem is being picked up.

“It is far easier for an accident to be attributed to drink as alcohol is easy to detect through smell and indeed breathalyser technology.  We would welcome a fuller investigation into the true extent of drug-driving.”

Is the number of speed cameras justified?

Love them or hate them, in a bid to reduce speeding incidents there are thousands of speed cameras on the UK’s roads.

There are around 7,000 speed cameras across the country and some in obscure locations which flash unsuspecting drivers, much to their dismay.

Disgruntled drivers and critics arguing against the extent of speed cameras in the UK, saying speed cameras don’t detect ‘careless or reckless’ drivers.

While this is undoubtedly true, the fact remains speed kills and the law is there for a reason: to deter drivers speeding with the potential to take a life.

Greenfield speed camera, Flintshire – the big debate

Motorists speeding through Flintshire have been issued with £240,000 worth of speeding fines in the last three years.

The positioning of one camera has been brought into question. The speed camera on the A548 in Greenfield has snapped 6,449 speeding motorists in the past three years – but drivers have argued its location means they don’t get advance warning.

The Greenfield speed camera is hard to see as it is located around a bend, meaning that unwitting drivers get snapped on a regular basis.

Donald Maguire, from Greenfield said: “The best camera I saw was one where the road was painted red coming up to it, so if you get caught in that you deserve it, but this one is just hidden away.”

The Alliance of British drivers said it is “probably the worst [camera] in Wales; it may even be the worst in the UK”.

On the other hand some have been positive about the camera saying it helps to slow down speeding drivers.

An anonymous woman said: “I think it’s a good idea because we have a grandson who walks home from school from there and it is a really narrow path. I think it makes it safer.

“It’s a busy road and a lot of big lorries come down it.”

Two years ago a report was published entitled Licensed to Skill, which tried to lay to rest popular myths concerning the causes of road accidents.

Illegal speeding which breaks the national limits accounted for 13.9% of fatal accidents. A major cause related to speeding is inconsiderate speeding not taking into account road and weather conditions, which contributed to 15.9% of accidents.

So rather than speed being the prime reason for road accidents, “driver error or reaction” seems like a more significant cause.

Speeding can still be incredibly dangerous though, so next time you get ‘stuck’ behind someone obeying the 30mph speed limit, why not stop and think – should I be doing the same?

If you have sustained an injury in a road accident that was not your fault, we can pursue a personal injury claim on your behalf where negligence or blame can be proved to lie elsewhere.

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