Motoring experts from have reminded drivers just how many crashes in Britain can be attributed to faulty cars or vans and urged vehicle owners to regularly check the quality and condition of parts including tyres, brakes, lights and mirrors.

The latest Department for Transport statistics show that in 2017, a staggering 1,539 road accidents in the UK counted vehicle defects as a contributory factor – including 359 serious and 32 fatal.

Defective brakes were the most common problem and specifically cited in 570 of the most recent year’s figures, whilst defective, illegal or under inflated tyres caused 472 crashes, including 115 serious collisions and 14 deadly ones.

Faulty tyres can cause a car or van to lose grip, especially on challenging road surfaces, whilst underperforming brakes can reduce a driver’s ability to react promptly to unpredictable situations when behind the wheel.

Tradespeople in particular should bear in mind the maximum load their van can safely carry or tow, as an overloaded or poorly loaded vehicle or trailer was a significant factor in 119 UK road accidents over the twelve-month period, of which four proved fatal and another 29 were deemed serious.

Other vehicle defects that have led to a large number of serious and sometimes deadly crashes include faulty lights or indicators, sub-standard steering or suspension and flawed or missing mirrors.

They were a reported contributory factor in over 400 UK road accidents during 2017.

Such faults also lead to many near misses every day, with a motorist’s ability to see properly at night and what’s behind them both crucial to road safety.

Highly dangerous cars and vans that can’t be steered properly or are too heavy should also be removed from the road until the problem is rectified.

It is recommended that vehicle owners in any doubt about how to assess quality and condition of any potentially defective parts, seek specialist advice as soon as possible.

All motorist must keep their MOT up to date, which legally must be every year if the vehicle is over three years old.

A regular service could be considered too, particularly for commercial or older vehicles and those that cover a high mileage.

Tim Alcock from said: “Road safety should always be every vehicle owner’s number one concern.

“It’s always better for a journey to be delayed or not undertaken at all, than to travel on the road while risking a predictable and easily avoidable crash that could prove serious or even deadly.

“Vehicle defects are responsible for a serious collision on UK roads nearly every day, causing two to three deaths per month. But even one is one too many.

“There is nothing the government can do – all the required legislation is in place and it’s impossible to enforce all the vehicles on the road all of the time.

“Drivers themselves must take responsibility and be sensible road users. Specialist assistance should be sought immediately if there is any doubt over the condition of your vehicle or if you’re not sure how to check thoroughly themselves.

“Travelling with even the smallest suspicion that your vehicle could have faulty brakes, defective tyres, flawed lights, missing mirrors or substandard steering or suspension is beyond reckless.”