Rivervale Leasing has done some interesting research to find out which car drivers are involved in the most accidents. Popular opinion has it that BMW drivers are more aggressive, drive faster and tend to be more confrontational – but is that true? Nope. It’s the humble shopper in their Vauxhall Zafira that provides the bigger risk.
Rivervale sent a Freedom of Information request to the Department for Transport (DfT) to find which vehicles were involved in the most and least accidents over the last five years. The request asked for the number of vehicles involved in accidents by make, model and accident severity for Great Britain between 2015-2019. We then calculated the rate of accidents per 10,000 models registered to represent each manufacturer and model fairly.
Of course there is a disclaimer; the more examples of each car there are on the road, the higher the likelihood of an accident.
It’s little surprise, then, that the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa – the UK’s bestsellers right now – had the most accidents according to the DfT report, each with more than 33,000 total.
But Rivervale also calculated the number of accidents per 10,000 models on the road. By this measure, it’s the Vauxhall Zafira that has had the most incidents, with over 500 accidents for every 10,000 models. However, this is probably not related to the Zafira itself as the car rated was five stars for safety by Euro NCAP, with standard features like seat belt reminders and an airbag cut-off switch for children. That said, the Zafira has a well documented history of catching fire occasionally, as the BBC noted here.
The Astra has the second-most accidents by this measure, with 363 accidents per 10,000 cars registered, although this is another model with a Euro NCAP five-star safety rating. IE looked online for Zafira and Astra models and found several for sale on Gumtree and eBay for under £400, with a 12 month MoT. It was the same story with the Astra, especially the diesel models, which seem almost worthless now with plenty available at under £600 online.
The logical conclusion then is that the drivers of low value, secondhand cars take more risks on the roads. However the BMW 3 Series made an appearance at number 5 in the most accidents charts, so perhaps there is some credence in the theory that it attracts a certain type of go-faster driver.
Rivervale also found that out of modern makes, Tesla had the best record for the least number of accidents per mile, which is obviously thanks to the extra tech inside the car, plus the high value of the vehicle. Other makes with good track records include Ferrari and Maserati, which highlights the link between driving high value cars and avoiding troble. In general, there are always exceptions.
Full research is here.