Car Accident Rates Reach Five Year Low

In the latest figures from the Department of Transport, studies have shown that the number of car accidents is falling.

In 2005, it was reported that accident rates per one billion vehicle miles stood at 635. In 2009, that figure had fallen to 517 per billion.

Motorway accidents have also shown signs of improvement, dropping by 36 in just four years.
The biggest fall was in urban accidents. Collisions in city areas dropped by a massive 171 and minor accidents fell by 178.

Fatal or serious accidents have fallen by over 2,000 in total over the past five years too, possibly showing an improvement in road behaviour or advancements in car safety technology.

Many have cited the financial crisis as a reason for the fall in traffic accidents as more people begin to use public transport and reduce the use of their car. Also, a rise in unemployment will have seen a drop in the number of motorists using vehicles.

However, despite a decrease in the number of accidents, the number of personal injury claims in the UK has risen.
In 2009, insurance companies were receiving 1,200 whiplash claims per day alone. Many believe that an increase in the number of car insurance firms offering personal injury protection may have encouraged the rise. Furthermore, the increase in the number of television advertisements for personal injury claims may have also delivered a heightened awareness among the general public.

The rise has come despite government attempts to reduce personal injury claims under the Compensation Act in 2006. The law brought in was designed to impose registration requirements on claims management companies and to establish the claims management regulator, controlled by the Ministry of Justice.

The worldwide financial crisis may also be to blame for the rise in car accident claims. As well as physical trauma, it is also possible to cite emotional and personal issues as a cause for compensation. During an era where money is scarce, many of the public have claimed for emotional stress they have suffered due to the financial difficulties that damage to their being or vehicle can cause.

A rise in claims has inevitably led to a rise in car insurance premiums. In 2010, British roadside recovery group, the AA, announced that the average premium rate had risen by seven per cent during the fourth quarter of 2009; marking the steepest rise in prices since records began in 1994.

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