West Midlands Fire Service plea to drivers following road deaths

Tragedies prompt 'Fatal 5' warning



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Published on 20 October 2023

We are asking members of the public to consider the ‘Fatal 5’ factors that can increase the likelihood of a death on the road.

In the last week, West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) has attended three fatal road traffic collisions in which safer driving could potentially have saved lives.

With evenings getting darker earlier, and wet weather affecting the grip of the road surface, drivers need to be far more aware and considered in their driving as the conditions change.

Any distractions, substances that slow your reaction time, or inattention to the road increase the likelihood of a collision and death.

The Fatal 5 are:

  • careless driving
  • drink and/or drug driving
  • not wearing a seatbelt
  • using a mobile phone
  • speeding


Each behaviour is dangerous when driving – but a combination of any or all of them could prove fatal.

Wayne Brown, Chief Fire Officer, said: “Any fatality on our roads is a tragedy for the families of those involved, the wider community and West Midlands Fire Service staff and our partners who respond. These incidents can have a profound impact on everyone involved, not least those at the wheel.

“The nights drawing in earlier and wetter roads increase the possibility of collisions. The Fatal 5 not only increase the risks for drivers but for others around them – other drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.

“Our expert and professional firefighters will be there if you need us – but we’d prefer you never did.”

Chief Fire Officer Wayne Brown

Wayne Brown

Chief Fire Officer

We are committed to keeping our communities safe through preventative work - and I urge the public to keep themselves and others safe.

West Midlands Fire Service’s advice is:

  • always pay attention to the road and other road users
  • never drink or take drugs and drive
  • always wear your seatbelt
  • never touch your mobile phone while driving
  • keep to the speed limit and drive to road conditions

Photo: Firefighters hone their rescue skills during training

Three firefighters wearing high visibility kit and helmets use hydraulic gear to cut into a car during training