posted 7 years ago

Shock rise in fatal and serious road accidents

Road deaths and injuries increase for first time in 17 years

The annual number of people killed or seriously injured in road accidents has increased to 1,901 in 2011 from 1,850 in 2010, the first annual rise since 2003. Serious injuries increased from 24,510 to 25,022 in the same period, the first annual rise since 1994.

Estimates of total road ‘casualties’ based on National Traffic Survey data are 730,000. These include incidents not reported to police. Total reported road casualties were 203,950, which shows a slight decrease of 2% from the previous year.

The statistics are worrying when you consider that the trend for the last 17 years has been downwards, and assess the improvements in vehicle safety that have taken place during that period.

The road safety charity Brake is urging the government to reinstate national casualty reduction targets, which were abandoned last year, and take action on priority areas to bring road casualties down:

  • fund and encourage widespread 20mph limits and other measures by local authorities to enable people to walk and cycle safely in their communities, and to protect the most vulnerable road users, such as children;
  • implement graduated driver licensing, to help young, inexperienced drivers to be safer (elements of this have been recently announced for Northern Ireland);
  • lower our drink drive limit (recently announced for Scotland) and make traffic policing a national policing priority, to ensure greater resources are invested in catching drunk, drugged and other dangerous drivers.

It is hoped that these actions will reduce road casualties and improve safety for all road users, if adhered to in addition to the charity’s ‘Slower Speed Saves Lives’ flagship campaign.

More information can be found at

Official UK Road Accident/ Casualty statistics 2011

Brake, the road safety charity website

Lower Drink-Drive Limit in Scotland


Introduction: Retired Police Driver; retired driving instructor. Have degree in psychology - lectured on same for drivng. Current examiner for the IAM. That will do to start with. Back in 1987 the road death satistic was 3,500 and it had been round about that figure for some considerble time. For it to be down to its current figure shows that at least something has been achieved. One thing which springs to mind is an improved driving test for learners. However a lot of what has been said in the other comments is valid in relation to how people see the reasons for such incidents. There appear to be no breakdown statistics of the type of driver involved ie foreign, male, female, or age related, so it is difficult to point a finger as some of the commentators have suggested.Prior to the driving test in 1935 7,000 plus people were being killed on the roads and this with only about 2,000,000 vehicles on the road. Compare that with todays staistics with in excess of 28,000,000 vehicles on the road. There were incidents and deaths even when we had horse drawn vehicles. Human beings, being what they are, will always have these problems. I was one asked about educting drivers to a higher standard - you can't educate someone who does not want to be educated. Road rage is not new. I have early prints of coachdrivers whipping each other as they try to gain advantage. It has been with us for some time.Is there an answer to road incidents? I think not. It is not within the human psyche to to always do the right thing. I have avoided the term "accident" as the term more or less means unavoidable; or not my fault! Happy motoring to one and all.

I am a younger driver myself and have only been driving for six years. Between passing my test in 2006 and now I have noticed a decrease in driving standards and an increase in outright dangerous driving. I believe it is unfair to blame a specific group of people for this (e.g. young, old, mothers during the school run, ethnic minorities, etc) as I seem to encounter appalling drivers regardless of age, ethnic background or time of day. Alot of people seem to blame various factors to explain why driving has become a gamble with your life every time you sit behind the wheel. At the end of the day, it boils down to people trying to rush from point A to B as quickly as possible, with little consideration for other road users safety. I have a baby on board sign displayed on the rear window of my car, which seems to not make a difference to other drivers tail gating me and yelling abuse for being slightly cautious or obeying the speed limit. On the roads I have witnessed almost every clause in the highway code being broken. People seem to forget they are there for a reason and if everyone took responsibility for their actions instead of blaming anything and everyone else, perhaps our roads would be safer.

I think there is a lot of unsafe driving, I have noticed in recent years that everybody seems to be in a hurry. Nobody seems to look ahead beyond the car in fronts bumper. We all need to slow ourselves down a little when needed, by all means enjoy a decent drive along a national speed limited A road,again when appropriate. Why do people find it necessary to accelerate along my small residential road, accelerating through the gears and braking hard, there is no where to go to, just the end of a road surrounded by house, parked cars and children playing. I would like to add that in my arae, teh North West there seems to have been an increase in the incident of lorries in accidents and those involving pedal cycles. Once somebody has been seriously injured or killed through carelessness its far too late then to say sorry. just take more care. steve.

Sadly, my only surprise has been the rise only happened this last year. For some time it seems many drivers 'floor the gas pedal' wherever there are not speed cameras / bumps etc i.e. thnk they can 'get away with it'. Tail gating almost a norm on motorways etc: evident irritation, or worse, if one dares to drive within the speed limits. If not manic speeding then lane drifting and general vagueness, certainly in many cities and perhaps most of all by taxi drivers is also more obvious. Perhaps I'm biased - although I'm a motorist I am also a cyclist, and got knocked off my bike two years ago.

Firstly, investment is needed in making our roads 'fit for purpose'. Secondly, every driver needs to be reminded to treat their vehicle as a 'leathal weapon'. Accidents are caused when there are distractions - mobile phones seem to be attached to so many people's ears and hands when driving! Women culprits with young children in the back of their cars should be ashamed of themselves! How many of these accidents were caused by foreign drivers? How many were caused by drivers with no licence or insurance? Perhaps the age to be able to drive should be increased to 21 years. Smoking should be banned from vehicles. Treat everyone else on the road as a complete idiot and never expect them to do what you think they should/will be doing. That message was given to me by a very good driving instructor back in 1970's. We need more frightening, hard-hitting messages and we need serious investment in our roads!

3 factors I would attribute to the rise: 1. Smartphones - I have lost count of the number of people I have seen accessing smartphones whilst driving along. 2. Gradual degradation in courtesy towards others. More and more people don't give a stuff about anyone else but themselves. Few people can even be bothered to use their indicators nowadays. 3. Blame culture - Their bad driving is always someone elses fault. This forum highlights this, some idiot blaming speed limits for him not paying attention to the road!

After nearly 40 years of regular motoring and zero accidents I find that in the last couple of years I've changed my style of driving. Nowadays I rarely look up from the speedometer, just catching a quick glance from time to time at the speed limit signs. I can't afford speeding fines and it's no longer obvious what the appropriate speed might be at any location; quite often a country dual carriageway will suddenly become a 40 or 50 mph limit despite no apparent problems. Towns and cities regularly have anything between 20 and 40 mph sections, accompanied by speed traps placed to catch out the unwary. Watch the road only to keep track of the speed limits and other signs! Also with the plethora of signs of all types one cannot take notice of traffic situations any more. Is this really making me safer? I'd expect more accidents if others are getting used to this style of driving.

I have read with some interest some of the above comments and agree with many, such as pot holes, grit surfaces, etc. I do though, take exception to the comments regarding learner drivers. We as driver trainers are up against many obsticles, for instance when young drivers start lessons, many parents will ask the questions How much? and how long? It is a fine balence between producing a GOOD driver and convincing parents that because their offspring has no interest in the subject it will take quite a long time to get the message to sink in, and human nature kicks in with "I'm being ripped off". In some cases this may be true but in the main we do the best we can with what we have to work with. There is always money available for smart phones, xbox, booze, smokes, concerts, etc, but a life saving skill that will last a lifetime and probably increase that life time somehow has a very low priority in the spending stakes. Until it becomes THE most important skill it will remain that collisions will occur and the young driver will die. Lets put a stop to this carnage and instil into both,parents and young drivers that there is only one way to drive and that is with resposibility and due care for everyone.

I am not surprised at all. I have been driving since I was 17. In those 49 years I have completed 1.6 million miles all over Western Europe. Recently their has been an exponential rise in drivers ignoring ALL aspects of motoring law. My current mileage is 50K per annum. I estimate the chance of being caught "speeding" - ie. exceeding any speed limit by 20mph or more is 1%. Hence 90% of drivers "speed". Being passed by drivers doing 110mph+ on ordinary dual carriage ways is very common. We need a clampdown NOW, although I feel it is too late. "Drivers" do what they want, with a "foot in the face" of other drivers being how they think and act.

Not a massive shock. Less investment in policing, cameras turned off and roads decaying. Couple that with more people who cannot afford to properly maintain a car so let it slip this is what you get. Older Drivers and yong drivers have not suddenly become more of a problem in 12 months (although don't get me wrong they are a big issue). What we need to do is stop sprinkling gravel over bad roads and start resurfacing them with a decent quality surface. It might cost more now but you will soon save it because there will be fewer accidents, fewer potholes and no need to put down extra gravel stuff every 6 months like they do round me! Couple this with a more stringent MOT and driving refreshers every 10 years and your well on the way.

So, the drink-driver is the big, bad wolf again, eh? What of the school-run brigade? The hopeless Asian drivers? The foreign bus and truck drivers? I could go on - but whats the point? Next time you're following a learner doing 20 mph, remember, they're going to end up with the same licence you have and very little real ability!

Opening paragraph a)doesn't make sense, I think you mean 2011 not 2001,and b) isn't accurate, 1901 i the number of people killed in road accidents and 25.22 is the the seriously injured.

Drawing any comparrison between smoking related and driving deaths is ptretty obtuse Larry! Smoking is a personal choice, you can stop the effects of smoking tomorrow with if you have the will, & There are nearly adequate laws in place alraedy to protect ud from the smoke of others. But it's impossible to choose not to have one of yournear and dear beaing wipeed out out in an instant by another's driving!

Personally i think its because law means jack now days! More and more people speed and drive recklessly its to easy to be let off and get a smack on the wrist, people have taken advantage of this! Law enforcement is a joke. When people break the law punish they should be punished so they dont feel the urge to do it again. This country needs to look to the past, when times were better and people had respect.

I would call for a complete ban on drinking before driving. That way, NO ONE is left in doubt about alcoholic intake. How can you correctly gauge what effect your content has at present?

More cars than ever on the road. Over reliance on cameras and deliberate reduction of police on the road all add to the problem. Bad driving is the problem, not just going over any given speed limit. Cameras don't catch drugged/drunk or cars not fit for the road or persuade drivers to safely overtake, not tailgate etc. As long as they dont exceed the speed limit they will not be caught! More sensible policing and stop relying on speed cameras, ANPR cameras would be more effective in making sure driving behaviour improves and safer cars are on the road. Graduated licences also a good idea, works for motorcycles?

1,900 people died on the roads and all these measures are being discussed, WOW!!! If death avoidance is important, ban smoking, it killed 81,400 (NHS statistics on smoking). More people drive than smoke. Get things in perspective.

Large quantities of non-uk drivers just dont know how to drive in this country. A lot of drivers young and old can just as bad. I think that a review on driving licences, for example...anyone wanting to drive on our roads not from this country require a simply online theory test with printable certificate. Continuation learning for all drivers, for example every 5 years refresher courses theory and practical. Even advanced driving, hey my father now 72 took his and passed, his driving is still good. Lets face it...too many people shouldnt be driving on our roads....

I agree with Briam M's comment... without the cause stated, it's impossible to know what to make of it. Do we need 20mph speed limits if the problem is inexperience or alcohol for example? Will there be a follow up article with a bit more information?

A contributory cause to the increase in road accidents must be the numbers of older drivers on the road. Reaction times are poorer and some have dementia.

Totally unsurprising given the vast increase in the number of foreign nationals now driving on our roads. It is fact that every time I'm subjected to inconsiderate and, on occasion, downright dangerous driving by others it involves a driver oblivious to the general driving laws of this country.

This appalling trend is almost certainly down to the increased use of mobile phones, hopelessly low penalties for speeding and a chronic lack of speed limit enforcement. We need more traffic police, speed cameras and traffic light cameras. I have noticed a significant increase in the number of 'drivers' ignoring amber and red lights.

Poor road surfaces everywhere & huge proliferation of confusing road signage with speed limit variations sometimes 6 times in a mile - how do we concentrate on the road. No wonder these figures are increasing & with cars built much safer now!!

Unfortunately statics like this mean nothing without knowing the data behind them. Was the increase due to less speed cameras, more young/drunk/drugged drivers, poor road/car maintenance due to economic climate or more dangerous overtaking due to slow 'economy' drivers!

Ban overtaking. Motorists aint very good at it. Mind you from the statistics for vulnerable road users. People just aint very good at driving. Reduce speed limits to 50 too; or bring back the man with the red flag. Cept for me; of course.

Better maintain the state of our roads so as to reduce the number of people swerving to avoidpot holes and even more important drivers can keep an eye on the road ahead instead of looking for pot holes

alarming news is it younger drivers or foreign nationals and what % eas uninsured ponts to look at as more foreign drivers with our borders being open maybe all foreign drivers do a safety awarness as soon as they are here for over more than two weeks or banned till past it or is that discrimination again

Any analysis available? Where are deaths occurring, rural roads or urban junctions, my guess is the latter as nobody seems to give a f*** about obeying red traffic lights any more - thats where the cash generating cameras should be put.

You need to proof-read: the number of people increased to 1,901 in 2011 (NOT 2001 as you have written). Peter Francis.