DfT figures reveal fatal but preventable car defectMon, 05/11/2018
New data from the Department of Transport has revealed that defective brakes caused over 500 accidents in 2017 alone.
The RAC reports:
Faulty brakes caused more accidents on the UK’s roads last year than any other type of vehicle defect, new official statistics have revealed.
Newly-released Department for Transport (DfT) figures found that faulty brakes caused 570 accidents in 2017, resulting in nine fatalities and 129 serious injuries.
The number of brake-related accidents comes despite many mechanic garages across the UK offering motorists free brake checks, with drivers under no obligation to buy new components.
With winter approaching, the RAC is warning motorists to be mindful of their vehicle’s condition and look out for any changes or warning signs from their brakes.
The average lifespan of brake pads is 50,000 miles, although this can change significantly depending on the vehicle and a motorist’s driving habits.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said that properly functioning brakes are essential and advised motorists to watch out for warning signs of defective braking systems.
He said: “Having to use more force to apply the brakes or the vehicle not slowing down as quickly as normal are definite signs something is not right and that it’s time to go to the garage.
“A warning light may also appear on the dashboard to indicate brake pads are low but not all cars have these. So if you start to hear a loud screeching noise when you press the brake pedal then the chances are your brake pads have completely worn out and need urgent attention.
He added: “It is, however, possible on vehicles to carry out a visual check of the brake pads too to identify wear and tear. You may be able to see the pads by looking through the spokes of the car's wheel - you might need a torch.”
In total, vehicle defects led to a staggering 1,539 accidents and collisions on the UK’s roads last year, causing 32 deaths and seriously injuring a further 359 people.
Illegal, defective, or under-inflated tyres caused 472 accidents and was the second most common accident-causing car defect, with 14 fatalities and a further 115 seriously injured.
The third most common cause was defective steering or suspension, resulting in 267 accidents in which four people were killed and 67 seriously injured.
The fact that these accidents were caused by preventable defects demonstrates the importance of performing regular checks on your vehicle. This is especially important for the cold winter months which are rapidly approaching, to ensure motorists are as safe as they can be on the road.