Absent-minded drivers are the most common cause of road accidents in Swindon, figures reveal.

Road safety charity Brake has called for a radical overhaul of road safety measures to prevent “needless, preventable” deaths from dangerous driving.

The latest Department for Transport statistics show drivers or riders failing to look properly contributed to 185 accidents in Swindon last year.

The figures, which report contributory factors for accidents as recorded by police, also show that 112 accidents were caused by drivers or riders being careless, reckless or in a hurry.

Officers can choose one or more reasons for any accident where at least one person suffers a slight injury in an incident with a vehicle.

These do not have to involve cars and could include a cyclist falling over or a motorbike colliding with a pedestrian.

Samuel Nahk, senior public affairs officer at Brake, said: “These figures clearly highlight that driver error is one of the main causes of crashes on our roads, all too often leading to death and serious injury.

“Yet every death and injury on our roads is a needless, preventable tragedy.

“We can mitigate the impact of driver error through a safe systems approach with safer roads, safer vehicles, safer speeds and safer road use, enabling people to move around in safe and healthy ways.

“Drivers can also reduce their chances of causing a crash by ensuring they stick well within the speed limit, take more time to look carefully at junctions, and giving the road their full attention at all times.”

Last year, nine people were killed and 5858 seriously injured on Swindon’s roads, more than in 2017, when police recorded six deaths and 56 serious injuries.

Overall casualties, which include slight injuries, fell from 507 to 488 over the period.

The DfT cautions against comparing trends from previous years, however, because of changes to the way some forces record the severity of road injuries.

A DfT spokeswoman said: “We are committed to ensuring our roads are safe for everyone and our comprehensive Road Safety Action Plan sets out more than 70 different measures to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our roads."