Car Driver Casualties in Dorset

Dorset County Council’s Casualty Analyst, Michael Potter, has been delving into the casualty statistics to give us an insight into how analysing the statistics help to shape the authority’s Traffic Safety Plan and how DGAM are becoming involved.


The wider context
The government has set a target for local authorities to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) on the roads by 40% by the end of 2010.


Steady progress was being made towards the target until 2007 when the first increase in KSI casualties was recorded since 2002.  An increase was also recorded for 2008.  Please see chart below…

The Dorset County Council (DCC) area does not included the Boroughs of Poole and Bournemouth, who operate as unitary authorities.


Who is most at risk?
In order to ensure that we are focussing engineering, education and enforcement resources where they will be most effective we need to identify who is involved in the collisions and where they are occurring. The chart below shows the percentage breakdown of all KSI casualties for each road user group


Car users are most at risk overall and are therefore a key focus for any casualty reduction initiatives that are pursued.  The car user group accounts for both car drivers and car passengers; the following chart distinguishes between car driver and car passenger KSI casualties:


A closer look at Car Driver KSI casualties
When analysing casualties it is usual to use the most recent 3 year data available.  All the data which is included below is relates to the latest 3 year period (November 2006 – October 2009).

Where do the collisions happen?

Location map of fatal and serious car collisions (latest 3 years November 2006 – October 2009)

At a glance it would appear that collisions are well spread across DCC with the majority of KSI collisions occurring on rural roads. 

The engineering team will do further analysis to identify locations where there is a potential for physical road improvements; the police identify routes where traffic law violations have contributed to the collision in order to prioritise patrols and the safety camera partnership identify locations where excessive speed was a contributory factor.

Promoting and developing post-test training opportunities to drivers is a key role of DCC’s road safety team.  Training opportunities are available to all drivers, however we focus on courses for those most at risk.  From the data available we identify the age group of the drivers and the type of road being travelled on.

Roads with a speed restriction of 50mph and above are referred to as ‘rural’ roads and roads with a speed restriction of 40mph or less are referred to as ‘urban’ roads.


The vast majority (73%) of KSI casualties occurred on rural roads with the remaining 27% occurring on urban roads.


Which age group of car drivers is most at risk?

The chart above shows that the 17-24 age group of car drivers are most at risk accounting for 32% of all KSI casualties for Car Drivers in Dorset.  National research conducted by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) found that teenage drivers are 3 times more likely to crash with a group of friends in the car as opposed to driving alone.  It is interesting to note that there is a peak at 43-51 which mirrors KSI casualties amongst motorcyclists.  When are ‘Car Driver’ KSIs happening?


Interestingly there is a relatively even spread across each day of the week with ‘Wednesday’ accounting for the highest proportion of Car Driver KSI Casualties.  Further analysis is being undertaken to see if there are any significant factors affecting Wednesdays.


The highest proportion of weekday car driver KSIs happened between 13:01pm and 16:00pm accounting for more than a quarter (26%) of all car driver weekday KSI casualties.  The highest proportion of weekend car driver KSIs happened between 16:01pm and 19:00 accounting for 23% of all car driver weekend KSI casualties.


Who is to blame?
It is widely acknowledged that around 95% of all road traffic collisions involve an element of human error.  Lack of hazard awareness and poor speed management are the main contributory factors. 


Casualty reduction initiatives
DCC’s road safety team are working with partners to promote further training opportunities to car drivers including:

Theory and practical courses for young drivers, business drivers and older drivers organised by Dorset County Council and delivered by local driving instructors. Visit www.dorsetforyou/roadsafety for more information.  

IAM advanced training – delivered by local IAM groups

Pass Plus – a subsidy for drivers aged 17-24 is currently being offered through Poole Borough Council.

Contact: Sue Virgin, Road Safety Officer, Dorset County Council, County Hall, Dorchester DT1 1XJ
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 01305 224267

For permission to reproduce this article, please contact Sue Virgin at Dorset County Council (details above).

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