The Department for Transport's latest casualty figures suggest that the roads have become safer. As such - in the year to June 2013 - the estimated number of people killed or seriously injured in Great Britain fell from 24,894 to 23,530 (-5% compared to the previous year). These included 8,560 car users (-6%) and figures for vulnerable groups such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists fell 7%, 1% and 6% respectively. These related to incidents on public roads and footpaths that became known to the police within 30 days. Pleasingly, there was also a fall in the number of accidents on all types of road in the year to June 2013. As such the fatal and serious figure fell by 7% on major roads (motorways and a-roads) and by 4% on minor roads. On those with speed limits over 40mph - in non-built up areas - the fatal/serious figure fell 6% and built-up roads with speed limits up to and including 40mph saw a 5% reduction. Finally, the number of people slightly injured on all types of road fell from 174,197 to 162.010 (-7%). This was despite the 0.4% increase in traffic from the year to June 2012, to the year to June 2013.
DFT Road Casualty Figures For 2012 (Q2) And 2013 (Q2)
The Department for Transport's figures – as with all figures - cannot be taken in isolation if the reader wants an overall perspective. To emphasise the point, let us consider the variations between 2012 (Q2 only) and 2013 (Q2 only). Here, there is good and bad news for road safety campaigners. As such, the number of car users and pedestrians killed or seriously injured fell 9% and 7%, respectively. These statistics easily relate to the year to June 2013 figures (see above). However, the number of fatalities and serious injuries involving motorcyclists and peddle cyclists rose by 8% and 4%, respectively - which is a stark contrast to the year to June 2013 figures. The Department for Transport has suggested that the variation could be weather related. Why? Because rainfall between April and June 2012 was “extremely high” compared to the long term average for this time of year. Rainfall for the equivalent months the following year, in contrast, was 40% lower which was consistent with the average. So, the latter could have encouraged more cyclists and motorcyclists onto the road which increased their exposure to risk. Also, estimates suggest that the volume of traffic increased 3.4% between the second quarters of 2012 and 2013. Again, a stark contrast to the year to June 2013 figure (0.4%).