Speed is not the cause of high speed collisions: ABD

11.04 | 1 February 2018 | | 12 comments

Given that speed is ‘not the cause of high speed accidents’, the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) is ‘demanding’ that the ‘outdated and discredited’ 70mph motorway speed limit be raised to 80mph.

Rather than speed, the ABD says these collisions are the ‘consequence of alcohol-/substance-abuse induced impairment and/or criminal behaviour’.

In a strongly worded press release the ABD, which describes itself as a ‘voluntary organisation promoting the interests and concerns of Britain’s drivers’, goes on to say ‘there are virtually no sober, responsible drivers involved in road traffic accidents where their speed is the primary definite causation factor and they are the perpetrator’, adding that ‘inattention and poor observation are always the table-topping primary causation factors’.

The ABD goes on to say: “Nevertheless, the glib, groundless and pathetically inaccurate ‘speed kills’ myth is trotted out by jobs-worth so-called ‘road safety professionals’ – whose livelihoods are increasingly speed enforcement incentivised.”

Speed enforcement, the ABD says, is ‘all about the money’, arising from ‘ballooning’ speed awareness course fees.

Given that ‘97% of road traffic accidents are not caused by speed limit infractions’, the ABD is calling for more police patrols ‘on the lookout for bad/erratic driving’.

The ABD says the creation of an ‘independent, objective, state-funded Road Accident Investigation and Prevention Board is long overdue’, to investigate the causes of collisions, formulate and implement effective road safety policies and regulate UK speed enforcement operations.

Click here to read the full ABD news release.


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    Well said Nigel. I have been saying the same thing for the last 5 years or so. It’s not so much speed as a lack of space that will help to keep us safe. First to have improved vision to identify a problem or danger and then the time and space to take avoiding action or at least if unavoidable to mitigate its consequences.

    Tailgating does not only affect our ability to stop in time whilst close following, but with more space we can alleviate a lot of modern problems and that is crashes, deaths, serious injuries, slight injuries and damage to property etc. Look at any Crashmap and one will realise that the commonest accidents are…..a rear ender on our roads and streets. Vehicles travelling in the same direction. Then junctions and smidsys at those junctions. Next it’s coming into close contact at roundabouts which if you think about it are a combination of both tailgating and smidsy. That is close proximity of slowing or accelerating vehicles and two or more vehicles meeting from different angles.

    If ever their was an intervention needed to massively reduce our incident and collision rate its to educate drivers on the need to give greater space and therefore safer space. Then everyone on the road is a winner as well as local authorities, the NHS, emergency services, insurance companies etc.

    So let’s for once stop concentrating on speed and look at the real reason for such carnage and that is a lack of safe space. Known as the Safe Stopping Distance or the Safe Following On Distance.

    Seems a simple thing to do. To warn and or inform drivers of their responsibility to be a safe distance to the rear of another vehicles. Even HGV drivers could be taught it.

    bob craven
    Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

    Perhaps the best case we have to press through with the recommendations made by PACTS (March 2015) and RAC Foundation (Dec 2017) with numerous risk management professionals backing it and now 2 Councils closing down their road safety section and re-orienting their work as road danger reduction – fixing the hazards rather than piling on the protection, because those Councils haven’t the cojones to tackle the basic problem.

    The ABD, as rational, intelligent people cannot argue against objective and independent investigation of RTC and from those investigations, drawing out ALL the factors influencing both core causes and effects. Such investigation of rail, air and marine incidents, almost always has a note on the effect the speed has had on the delivery of the event, and the severity of the result, which usually produces a learning point (reduce speed reduce harm) and often a recommended action to manage down the speeds (lower speed = stop in less distance, retain control, etc).

    The current system – Section 39 RTA 1988 – has the roads authority carrying out the investigations and then telling itself what action to take, with no DfT guidance, or requirement to publish, and then telling themselves (with no checks & balances) what to do to prevent a repeat of same crash. Totally fails best practice for risk management regime, and hence the need to deliver that Highways AIB, along with a powerful regulator for all commercial use of the roads. Basically setting up the same structures as those which effectively minimise (and eliminate) deaths on rail air and marine journeys

    Dave H (@BCCletts)
    Agree (5) | Disagree (1)

    As Hugh made reference to, it’s not really the speed which is important, it’s the ability to stop in time. And considering most motorists, because they don’t leave enough space, are vulnerable if anything suddenly goes wrong in front of them, that’s where the real issue lies. Space and time are critical safety factors but most don’t appreciate this. And additionally, and unfortunately, neither do a lot of people in road safety. I refer back once again to HC126 and that if, for example, a vehicle goes into the back of another the driver of the former could be prosecuted. If this aspect were pursued then it would possibly increase the safety factor on the roads dramatically. Besides, an awful lot of drivers are doing 80 or more on motorways anyway.

    Nigel ALBRIGHT, Taunton
    Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

    It’s hard to reconcile the perpetual complaints about speeding from local communities with what they are saying in this release. It would also be interesting to see where their evidence comes from as even a quick glance at the Stats 19 data for last year:


    Gives you a much different picture:

    Excess or inappropriate speed as a contributory factor in 2016 accounted for 22% of fatal collisions, 13% serious injury and 10% slight injury…

    Perhaps if they had to deal with the aftermath of these collisions or witnessed what happens when a car hits a person at 70mph they may not be so flippant about the need for speed enforcement.

    Neil Worth
    Agree (9) | Disagree (4)

    Apart from the safety aspects, the ABD also always forgets when they periodically trot out this demand that more energy is needed to propel vehicles to such higher speeds, which is inconsistent with the need to address climate change.

    Andy Thorpe, Birmingham
    Agree (9) | Disagree (4)

    Hugh brings up a rather excellent point.

    The unrestricted parts of the German autobahnen have speed limits, oddly enough.

    No, I’m not on about the recommended limit of 130km/h, I’m more on about the requirement for the driver to drive no faster than it is possible for the driver to come to a complete stop safely, given weather conditions or visibility.

    Why can’t we have this here?

    It’s a rule that can be applied to everything – inclement weather, corners on rural roads, residential streets, mot- oh, wait, we already have this within common law and yet it’s rarely used.

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (7) | Disagree (2)

    I think they have confused some issues. It’s a fact that not all accidents are caused by vehicles found to driven or ridden at speeds in excess of the speed limit. Stats show that is only 6% of all accidents. What has been found is that excessive speeds cause or are a contributory factor in many more incidents although I don’t have those stats to hand.

    I think that they are arguing that stats show that by far the vast majority of incidents and collisions etc are caused by many other matters unrelated to actually speeding. Therefore as speeds in excess of the legal speed limit are not responsible for the vast majority of such then why can we not increase these limits for whatever reason they see fit to put forward.

    Let’s face it with ACPO or now the NPCC advice on speeds, vehicles have been enabled to drive on motorways at speeds well in excess of 70 mph since their publicity in 2010 and there is no evidence that accidents on motorways has increased during that time. Other than those relating to HGVs and/ or of multiple vehicles tailgating.

    Further to that one has seen a lawful increase in the speeds that HGVs can drive at on our arterial roads increased by some 10 mph.

    I am not necessarily in favour of increasing speed limits as I am a supporter of the need for the NPCC limits to be abandoned. I put this information forward for discussion.

    bob craven
    Agree (7) | Disagree (1)

    Adrian is not wrong, although strictly speaking it’s ‘not stopping in time’ that leads to collisions, which itself is directly related to the speed immediately before the driver tried to stop anyway, something which is continually overlooked by the ‘speeding is okay campaigners’ – it’s easy to speed, but much harder to stop in time

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (12) | Disagree (0)

    BTW, Adrian,speed is NOT always the cause. For example, we have casualties caused by vehicles being driven on the wrong-side of the road and the wrong-way down dual carriageways and vehicle speed is not the issue.

    Derek Hertfordshire
    Agree (13) | Disagree (5)

    The ABD is clearly onto something here. What speed limit would we need in order to ensure that “no road traffic accidents are caused by speed limit infractions”? I suggest 140mph on motorways and 80mph in town centres. Might be more dangerous of course…

    Btw, ALL casualties are caused by speed, whether or not within the speed limit

    Adrian Berendt, Tunbridge Wells
    Agree (9) | Disagree (16)

    Aw, bless..they keep trying don’t they? (Useful tip for lobbyists everywhere – if you don’t really know, just make something up, declare it in indignant tone and your followers will believe you)

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (20) | Disagree (10)

    The Local Authority road safety professionals I know certainly don’t consider their livelihoods are quote ” increasingly speed enforcement incentivised.” unquote.

    Impartial, balanced assessments of highways and road safety matters remain the bed rock of the profession in my opinion. If that sometimes upsets the apple cart with politicians and campaigners alike, so be it.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (20) | Disagree (5)

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