Accident delays affecting productivity on UK roads

03 March 2015

  • Nearly half of commercial drivers are held up by RTCs on a monthly basis
  • A number of drivers have felt under pressure to make up time on their journey
  • Driver First Assist calls on operators to put one company representative forward to try its collision management course for free

Forty seven per cent of commercial vehicle drivers are held up by a road traffic collision (RTC) at least once a month, with a further 28 per cent being delayed three to five times. These findings come from a survey by Driver First Assist, a road safety initiative which seeks to reduce road fatalities through incident first-on-scene training. If held up by a traffic accident, forty-four per cent said they are delayed by between 30 minutes and an hour. 

There are around 138,000[1] reported accidents on UK roads each year and assuming at least one commercial driver is stopped at every one of these incidents, the average time lost as a result could be in the region of 103,000 hours a year.

Of those who were delayed due to an accident, 40 per cent felt under pressure to make up the time. Of these individuals, 17 per cent said this pressure came from their employer, 16 per cent said it came from a combination of their employer and their client and 30 per cent said they put this pressure on themselves.

By educating professional drivers, of which there are now approximately 466,600 on UK roads, on how to manage the scene of a collision, DFA predicts road traffic fatalities could be cut by up to 46 per cent. In addition the clear-up of accidents would be quicker, getting all road users on their way far quicker. When asked “If those who have completed the DFA course are able to help open roads quicker and reduce delays, would you consider taking the training course to be a DFA member?” 76 per cent said yes.

David Heath, Head of Logistics at Clugston, said: “Road traffic collisions are a tragic reality of driving and something our fleet can come across on a daily basis. The Clugston Distribution drivers alone cover nearly 7 million miles a year on UK roads so the more of my drivers I train the more chance we have of positive intervention using the Driver First Assist training. The Driver First Assist initiative is there for when sadly the worst does happen and we believe that having a skilled army of DFA-trained individuals on the road network will improve road safety as well as accident clearance times, for all road users.”

Driver First Assist founder David Higginbottom said: “Being delayed due to a road accident is stressful for everyone involved, not least for those drivers who have delivery targets to meet. But the good news is that better collision management in the first minutes after a crash can reduce deaths and serious injuries, as well as get everybody back on their way quicker.

“It is positive to see how many respondents recognised the benefits of training to be better able to respond to the scene of an accident and I would like to invite every operator, small or large, to put a representative forward for a free training course, to realise the benefits for themselves.”

[1] Department for Transport statistics: Table RAS10001, Reported accidents by speed limit, road class and severity, Great Britain, 2013

Media contacts:

For further information please call Caroline Holmes or Belle Moss, on Tel. +44 (0)20 7952 1070 or email: or

Notes to editors:

Driver First Assist is a not-for-profit UK road safety initiative seeking to reduce deaths and life-limiting injuries by training professional drivers – those most often first-on-scene at road traffic collisions (RTCs) – to manage the scene of incidents and to administer basic, but potentially life-saving first aid. Currently, between 39 and 85 per cent of RTC deaths are caused by airway obstruction, which causes death within four minutes – half the ambulance target time. With the support of all three emergency services, the Driver First Assist programme has the potential to reduce the number of fatalities caused by RTCs by up to 46 per cent, and while its initial focus is professional drivers, the course is open to anybody with an interest in saving lives. DFA is supported by national business law firm and primary sponsor, DWF.

About Us

We are Torque, a multi-discipline communications agency, with expertise in digital, events and PR. Our role is to create compelling stories that build and strengthen both brand awareness and appeal. Our breadth of capability means that we don’t just create the message, we also deliver it. Our skill is to craft the right message, supported by strategic use of the right channels and platforms to target the right audience. We work with the brightest brands, across the automotive sector, mixing digital content creation and social media expertise with live events and media relations, to cut through the clutter.