Work-related Road Traffic Collisions in the UK

  • Published: Accident Analysis and Prevention issue 41, 2009, pages 345-351
  • Authors: David Clarke, Patrick Ward, Craig Bartle, and Wendy Truman
  • Date Added: 22 Apr 2016
  • Last Update: 22 Apr 2016
  • Format: html


Investigate the circumstances around road collisions involving people driving as part of their job.


The police collect data about road traffic collisions. This data includes descriptions of the collisions, maps, photographs, statements. Using this data, over 2,000 personal injury collisions from the year 1996 to 2004 that involved someone driving for work were analysed.

The blame worthiness of the people involved in all cases were assessed by coders. They could be coded as 'to blame', 'at least partly to blame', or 'not to blame'.

A list of 64 items were used to describe and categorise the collisions. These items were called 'background factors'.

Key Findings

  • In general, work-related drivers were seen to be more at blame for the collisions than the other involved parties. When these results were broken down into vehicle type, it could be seen that company cars, vans/pickups, and LGVs (large goods vehicles) had higher blameworthiness ratios and emergency vehicles, buses, and taxis had lower blameworthiness ratios (so they were involved in collisions were other vehicles had the primary blame).

  • Company car drivers had more collisions on slippery roads, while under the influence of alcohol, or while speeding than other vehicles driving for work.

  • For LGV drivers had a higher proportion of collisions with the following background factors; close following, fatigue/illness, and handling or load related problems.

  • Bus drivers showed a higher proportion of close following and signaling failure related collisions.

  • Taxi drivers showed a higher proportion of deliberate recklessness and failure to currently judge spacing related collisions.

  • The background factors associated with emergency vehicles were time pressure and observational failures.

Key words

Driving, work, blameworthiness,


This method relies on police interpretation of the collision which may be inaccurate.