As any crash victim will tell you, the last thing to probably go through their mind when they smack teeth head first into a concrete pillar is not, “Oh I wonder what statistic I will be or where will I come on the government’s piteous list of death by dangerous driving,” or, “if I make it out alive how much ‘wonga’ could I snatch?”
Statistics for death and injuries on British roads have dropped by almost 75% since 1979. A total of 2,222 people were killed in 2010 on British roads, a 12% fall from the previous year. No matter which way you look at it, death by driving is going down.
But what does this mean? Are cars safer? Are people safer? Are we really taking more care of how we actually drive? Are we becoming a nation of polite drivers who have become so embarrassed by road rage that it would be better to say ‘sorry’ rather than just mow down the imbecile who has decided to vex his pointless opinion at you?
I wish that was the answer, but alas it is not. There are two reasons and one is a direct cause of the other. You see people have become so roped into paying high premiums for their wretched car insurance that any little tap on the bonnet or scratch on the door could see one’s monthly direct debit rise to thousands and thousands of £’s. People have generally become better drivers, but that hasn’t subsequently helped to drop the rates, in fact they have continued to rise.
If you watch daytime TV you are likely to have seen those cheap lawyer adverts hammering their way onto your screen offering each and every one of their services for a couple of quid, ‘no win, no fee,’ basically no help to anyone! People in the UK today sue more than ever before, probably a consequence of the Americanisation of the British culture, and where can people sue the easiest? – On the roads, because it doesn’t take a Philadelphia lawyer to see when there is an opportunity to make a few extra bucks.
If someone has been put out for whatever reason they will usually seek some sort of justification. In the 1700’s in the American West these were usually settled with a dwell, but nowadays people just get taken to court and ordered to pay compensation.
It doesn’t matter if no one was injured or if there wasn’t even an infinitesimal amount of damage on their shiny used Rover 200, people will sue for whatever reason, maybe because of loss of earnings because they had to take their car into the garage to get touched up alongside their wife’s fake tan, maybe because when they got home after being given the ‘all-clear’ they suddenly felt a tiny prick in their abdomen and thought that a new TV would do nicely. Or maybe they were just nasty people who had nothing better to do than stir up a little fabrication to make someone’s life difficult.
So what can be done? Well that’s easy. If you do have the luck of driving into someone who is keen to get the lawyers involved, my advice would be to collide so hard that they send their skull straight into the dashboard causing them to forget the whole thing. Or perhaps you should just take the bus!