Road Safety News
 

GB road deaths fall to record low

Thursday 26th June 2014

The number of road deaths in Great Britain in 2013 fell by 2% to 1,713 - the lowest figure since national records began in 1926.

The DfT stats for 2013 show that since 2000 road deaths have halved and serious injuries (21,657) are down 43%.

Child KSIs for 2013 (1,980) are down 13%, reversing the increases seen in 2011 and 2012, and total child casualties (15,756) are down 9% to the lowest level since 1979 (when detailed records were first kept).

The total number of personal injury road collisions (138,660) is down 5% to the lowest level since 1926 and 1927, the first two years that records were kept. Traffic levels were broadly stable with a 0.4% year on year increase in 2013.

The number of pedal cyclist fatalities fell by 8% from 118 in 2012 to 109 in 2013, and the number of seriously injured cyclists fell by 2% to 3,143 - the first decrease in serious injuries to cyclists since 2004. RoSPA said these reductions are “particularly welcomed given the growing popularity of cycling”.

Pedestrian deaths fell by 5% to 398 and serious injuries decreased by 10% to 4,998.

While welcoming the reductions in pedestrian and cyclist casualties, the road safety charity Brake says it is “too early to tell whether this is part of a longer term trend as these figures have seen increases in recent years”.

Deaths among car occupants fell by 2% to 785 and serious injuries decreased by 7% to 7,641.

However, the number of motorcyclist deaths increased by 1% - from 328 in 2012 to 331 in 2013 - the first increase since 2006.

The number of people killed on motorways increased by 14% to 100 in 2013, the first increase since 2005. Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, described this increase as “worrying” given that motorway traffic levels only increased by 1.5%.

 

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Whilst it is inevitable that people will want to (or be asked to) comment on one year’s statistics there is a rule about such data that says “numbers will go up as well as down”. This is particularly true when the numbers are small. The extra 12 motorway fatalities (whilst not welcome) could be just a slight shift in the severity split as the difference between a serious and a fatal can be a matter of inches, which is why the fatal figure is not a good indicator and a serious can be just as life changing to the family of the casualty.

However, I am surprised that for Child KSIs there is the caveat “since 1979 (when detailed records were first kept).” as I have seen the 1958 report on “Child Cyclists” which had full casualty splits for child cyclists since 1938 – so would query the lack of data for other modes until 40 years later.

In summary, I would be more interested in the 5 year trend than this year’s numbers for the smallest casualty class.
Mark, Caerphilly

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