Drivers take the blame
Driver error causes more accidents than fatigue, speed and alcohol combined, writes PAUL GOVER
AUSTRALIANS have confessed to a wide range of dangerous deeds, from speeding to drink driving in a survey of driving behaviour.
But most agree on one thing — driver error is the biggest cause of crashes.
Almost half of all crashes are put down to driver error in the 2008 AAMI Crash Index, the 14th time Australians have been polled on a wide range of motoring issues.
‘‘Absent-mindedness is a factor in 44 per cent of all car collisions, with drivers much more likely to crash due to their own inattention than from speeding, fatigue and alcohol combined,’’ AAMI’s public affairs manager, Geoff Hughes, says.
Though speed, fatigue and alcohol are factors in 37 per cent of car crashes, AAMI’s research shows inattention is the main reason drivers crash into another vehicle or stationary object.
The survey reveals 81 per cent of drivers have been involved in a crash, with AAMI records showing the crash rate in the past year was the highest since 2001.
Consulting psychologist John Cheetham says the results reflect Australia’s driving culture.
‘‘The lifestyles of working professionals, stay-at-home parents and even secondary and tertiary students, is such that when they get in their car they have a tendency to go into autopilot, leaving them free to concentrate on everything else that is happening in their lives when they should be thinking about their driving,’’ Cheetham says.
‘‘To improve their concentration and prevent avoidable crashes, driv- ers must use good judgment and not drive when their minds are highly focused on work or social issues.’’
The survey shows that almost half of drivers who have had their licence cancelled or suspended say it was because of speeding. And 40 per cent lost their licence after drink driving.
‘‘This sort of willingness to get behind the wheel, when all the signs say you shouldn’t, suggests some drivers are either ignorant of the law, or just plain stupid,’’ Hughes says.
At fault: driver inattention is responsible for 44 per cent of all car crashes, according ot a new survey.