Media reporting guidelines for road collisions

Your name*

Your email*

Your phone

Type of claim

In May 2021, the UK’s first media reporting guidelines were launched, in a bid to reinforce existing codes of conduct for reporting in media. The guidelines were carefully written by legal, policing and safety experts and backed up by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

With motoring organisations like the AA and the FIA foundation supporting them, the new guidelines relate to “core journalistic principles of accuracy, fairness, non-discrimination and justice”. These guidelines were put in place to support people involved, victims and family or victims involved in road traffic accidents, ensuring that news reports provide unbiased, informative information.

These guidelines were also enforced to avoid categorisation of certain vehicles into driving behaviours, imposing language in the media that avoids discrimination and hate.

What are the new media reporting guidelines?

The new guidelines created in collaboration with the NUJ ethics council recommend that journalists avoid the term “accident” and replacing it with terms like “crash” or say “driver” instead of specifying the vehicle driven. The new guidelines also encourage journalists to provide more information about the accident and a reasonable description of what occurred, clearly outlining the information that they yet don’t know about, to avoid misinterpretation of the incident.

The ten road collisions reporting guidelines for journalists:

  1.       At all times be accurate, say what you know and importantly, what you don’t know.
  2.       Avoid the use of the word “accident” until the facts of the collision are known … Using words like “crash” or “collision” instead leaves the question of who or what is to blame open, pending further decisions.
  3.       If you’re talking about the driver, say driver, not vehicle.
  4.       Consider the impact on friends and relatives of publishing collision details.
  5.       Treat the publication of photos with caution, including user-generated footage or imagery.
  6.       Be mindful if reporting on traffic delays not to overshadow the greater harm, of loss of life or serious injury which could trivialise road death.
  7.       Journalists should consider whether the language used negatively generalises a person or their behaviour is a part of a group.
  8.       Coverage of risks on the roads should be based on fact and context.
  9.       Avoid portraying law-breaking or highway code contravention as acceptable or perpetrations as victims.
  10.   Road safety professionals can help provide context expertise and advice on broader issues around road safety.

The guidelines were organised by journalist Laura Laker, alongside the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy with contributions from other professionals. To read the full guidelines visit the official guidelines page.

The response

Unsurprisingly, the response to these guidelines was very positive. Enforcing guidelines that will positively affect reporting in the media and protecting individuals involved in road traffic accidents.

RoSPA’s response to the guidelines claims that they partially agree with the principles of the guidelines.

“We agree that publishers should avoid representing collisions as an inevitable event that could be prevented”

“90% of crashes will involve the element of human error”

To read the full response visit the official RoSPA’s response page.

The public consultation guidelines received almost 200 responses from the public, road safety organisations, media, legal and policing professions, with 72% agreeing with guidelines principles and a further 21% supporting its aims.

Contact us now!

We know the process thoroughly and can offer free consultations to see how much compensation you may get for your case.

Contact us now. Solicitors On Your Side Scotland can offer you free advice and consultations. Our solicitors can help you on a “no win-no fee” basis. That means there will be no hidden fees, and everything can be done over the phone from anywhere in the UK.

Contact us today by phoning 0141 648 4428, emailing [email protected], or by using our website by filling out an online form.

To be updated on the latest news and articles, follow us on Instagram and Facebook

No Win No Fee

Call us today for no obligation advice

0141 648 4428

Why choose "On Your Side"?

100% No Win No Fee

We offer a No win, No fee agreement on all new cases. Talk with us today to start your claim.

No Obligation Advice

Talk with us about your case and the likelihood of its success without any obligation today. Specialist staff are on hand to help you.

Proven Track Record

We have helped thousands of people to claim the compensation they are owed.

Legal Specialists

Our dedicated teams provide one to one help and support at every stage of your claim.

Scottish No Win No Fee Compensation

At On Your Side Scotland, all personal injury claims are processed on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that you don’t need to worry about anything as we will bear all upfront costs, you will only pay a fee if your claim is successful so you are never out of pocket.

Call us on

0141 648 4428

Request a callback

Start your claim today

Our numbers speak for themselves


claimed up to now in compensation for our clients.


of our clients said they would use us again to make a claim.


of our clients said they would recommend us to friends and family.


of our clients were 100% satisfied with the outcome of their claim.

Our 4 steps to success


Make an initial enquiry

Give us a call or request a call back. We'll listen to your case and provide no-obligation advice.


Your case is accepted

Should we advise your claim is worth pursuing, and you choose our services, we will begin claim preparation.


We'll work on your case

With your co-operation, we'll work on your case through to completion. You may be required to provide extra evidence.


Successful Outcome

Should your claim be successful and compensation be awarded, you should receive compensation as soon as possible.

Start your claim

Start your claim today

We help you get back on track

Our experienced solicitors in Scotland assist people who have been injured in non-fault road traffic accidents, including, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, cycling accidents and pedestrian accidents.

We have helped many clients in Scotland to access the legal support they deserve. If you have been injured in an accident in Scotland that wasn’t your fault, we can recover the maximum amount of personal injury compensation you are entitled to.