The ‘surprising’ behaviour behind majority of serious car crashes

The AM Show 28/03/2018

New research from AA shows that unintentional errors are behind the majority of serious injury crashes rather than reckless driving behaviour.

With the long Easter weekend coming up, drivers are being warned to stay focused while on the road.

AA policy and research manager Simon Douglas told The AM Show that "ordinary drivers" are crashing due to little mistakes.

"We were really surprised by the results that showed that around 70 percent of serious accidents involved people just making genuine mistakes," he says.

"Perhaps not paying attention, perhaps being on their cellphone, perhaps misjudging a gap. It's a real warning to Kiwi drivers ahead of Easter. Every time you hop in the car, stay focused."

The AM Show host Duncan Garner admitted he got dobbed in after driving while tired.

"A few weeks ago... I was heading north and I crossed the centre-line just a little bit," he says.

"I got a little bit sleepy, a little bit of inattention. Now that was reported by somebody and a 100 kilometres later I was stopped by a police officer.

"Somebody dobbed me in, and fair enough too, because I just went over the centre-line."

Mr Douglas says the study should be a warning to New Zealanders.

"What this study shows is that when circumstances combine, it can lead to a serious accident and somebody seriously injured," he says.

"It shows you we really need to pay attention, we need to be in the safest car that we can be in and that the government needs to continue with its investment programme to make sure that the roads we drive on everyday are as safe as possible."

Speed was also listed as a key factor in the differences between fatal and serious crashes, according to the AA report.

The research found that 73 percent of fatal crashes happened in open road environments, with the remaining occuring on urban roads. 

Watch the full interview with Simon Douglas above. 

The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.