posted 5 years ago

Road Casualty Figures Lowest Since Records Began

UK's Road Casualty Figures Hit Historic Low

The Department for Transport has revealed that last year's casualty figures were the lowest since records began in the mid-twenties. As such, the number of people killed on the roads – in cases reported to the police – fell from 1,901 in 2011 to 1,754 in 2012. There were therefore 147 fewer cases with represented an 8% fall. Furthermore, the number of people seriously injured on the roads fell from 23,112 to 23,039. This resulted in a modest (but meaningful) -0.4% reduction. There were also 145,571 personal-injury cases reported to the police last year which was 4% fewer than 2011. Within these casualty figures, there were 801 fatalities involving car users which was a 9% improvement. Serious injury car cases also fell in 2012, to 8,232 (-1%). Furthermore, motorcycle fatalities totalled 328 which represented a 9% reduction and serious injury cases fell by 5%, to 5,000. Finally, there were 420 pedestrians killed which was a 7% improvement. But not every figure makes pleasant reading. As such, the number of cyclists killed increased by 10%, from 107 in 2011 to 118 in 2012. Furthermore, the overall casualty figure reduction from last year follows a notable rise from 2010 to 2011. 

Road Safety Expert Discusses Casualty Figures

The Institute of Advanced Motorists Director of Policy and Research, Neil Greig, said: “IAM welcomes a return to the long-term improvements in road safety that the UK has been rightly recognised for. Last year was a clear warning for government that complacency in road safety cost lives.” Mr Greig added: “The IAM has always warned that failing to match investment in segregated facilities with the growing numbers of cyclists would lead to an increase in death and serious injury and this worrying trend continues. A 10% increase in cycling deaths in a year when the weather suppressed cycling trips is a real red danger signal that simply cannot be ignored.” 

UK Traffic Accidents By Road Type

The vast majority of traffic accidents occurred in built-up areas where the speed limit was 40mph or less. Towns and villages are full of hazards, after all. As such, there were 109,036 incidents on this type of road reported to the police last year. There were a further 30,920 in non built-up areas such as a-roads where the speed limit was over 40mph. Finally, there were 5,615 reported collisions throughout the motorway network.


Perhaps people should curb their enthusiasm for showing their ignorance.

Sadly, the figures for cyclists do not surprise me. As both a cyclist and a driver, it is apparent to me that, in many instances, drivers are just not aware of cyclists. Overtaking cyclists with insufficient clearance is very common and overtaking cyclists while turning left also occurs. A third major problem is failing to give way to cyclists on the main road when pulling out of side turnings. On the other side of the equation, there is, sadly, a new breed of cyclist that completely ignores whole sections of the Road Traffic Act, riding the wrong way along one-way streets and in areas reserved for pedestrians. Also, cycling on the wrong side of the road (between the curb and oncoming traffic) has become fashionable in some areas, while keep-left islands now seem to be regarded as optional for members of this group (and also for some motorcyclists).

The government obviously feels that motorways are not keeping up, with only 5,615 accidents. Never fear; their plan to incorporate the hard shoulder as an additional lane should get the fatality rate up nicely.

As improvements in motor vehicles must be a significant part of the reduction in casualties, could we now look at cyclists & pedestrians. Perhaps simple things, like cyclists being required to wear hiviz vests, have working lights at night, & pedestrians obeying traffic lights instead of wandering between moving traffic would reduce these casualties.