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.
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