More than a half of Russian drivers got into road accidents due to the failure to maintain safe following distance

04 March 2016

Any vehicle is potentially dangerous for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Twenty percent of Russian citizens have relatives or friends that received injuries in road accidents, eight percent have lost their relatives to road accidents. However, cars are not responsible for that statistics; it is people that operate them, that have the biggest influence, as human error is the main cause of most road accidents.

Over the last eight years, Road Safety Russian and The All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (WCIOM) has conducted nation-wide sociological research, creating a rating of most common causes of road accidents. This survey-based research allows to prioritize road safety problems, as well as to determine most underrated causes of road accidents. For example, failure to keep a safe following distance joined the list of dangerous violations only in 2014 (3% of respondents). In 2015, already 7% of respondents ticked off this category in the list of traffic violations.

According to the statistics by State Road Traffic Inspectorate, more than 184,000 road accidents happened in 2015, with 10% of those occurring due to an unsafe following distance. Moreover, unsafe following distance has been a contributing factor in thousands road accidents. In 2015, speeding, failure to adjust the speed to the particular situation on the road, and failure to keep a safe following distance resulted in 39,041 road accidents, with 5,197 people killed and 52,467 injured.

A joint study by WCIOM and Road Safety Russia shows that more than a half of Russian drivers got into road accidents due to the failure to maintain safe following distance.

“Despite this fact, almost 50% of Russian drivers admit disregarding safe following distance, especially when driving in heavy traffic. Moreover, drivers don’t always know how to determine if their following distance is safe, and have no idea that their safety distance-wise depends on weather conditions, their physical and emotional state” – said Konstantin Abramov, WCIOM Fund Chairman of the Board. Which means that failure to keep a safe following distance can be listed as one of the most underrated causes of road accidents.

Based on sociological research and State Road Traffic Inspectorate statistics, the topic of a safe following distance has been chosen as a main road safety topic this year. A new joint road safety communication program, Keep Your Distance, will be held from March to May 2016, by the State Road Traffic Inspectorate, the Russian Association of Motor Insurers, with informational support by Road Safety Russia.

“This new project follows up on our previous communication programs that Road Safety Russia has been jointly organizing with the State Road Traffic Inspectorate and RAMI for the last eight years; we’ve been aiming to form road safety culture among all road users and to inform the public on the topical problems of road safety. All our projects allowed us to make a significant improvement when it comes to road safety in Russia” – noted Natalia Agre, Road Safety Russia president.

Keep Your Distance campaign aims to inform road users on the importance of keeping a safe following distance and to teach them how to calculate a safe distance and factor-in the specifics of the situation: speed, road surface, physical and emotional state of the driver, weather conditions, etc. The campaign will include an educational film, a video spot for federal TV channels, audio spots and interviews for main radio stations all over the country.

Road users in Russian regions will be able to participate in practical and theoretical classes on safe following distance. Educational process will engage not only drivers, but passengers, and pedestrians, including children. Special events will be held in driving schools, schools universities, kindergartens, as well as at gas stations, and at Registration and Testing Departments of State Road Traffic Inspectorate.

According to Igor Jurgens, president of the Russian Association of Motor Insurers, the campaign will cover not only the topic of keeping a safe following distance in order to prevent an accident, but the know-how of a post-accident situation: “The campaign will help us teach the public how to deal with the consequences, for example, how to fill out Europrotocol forms. We will provide detailed information on insurance products”.

For additional information about the campaign, as well as for information about previous social campaigns, refer to and



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