Figures published by the DfT in ‘Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain 2010’ show that 1,850 people died as a result of road crashes in 2010; a fall of 17% compared with 2009.
The report (released 29/09/11) also reveals that 208,648 casualties from road crashes were reported to the police in 2010, a 6% reduction compared with 2009; and 22,660 people were seriously injured, down 8% since 2009.
The number of fatalities fell for almost all types of road user: 21% for car occupants; 19% for pedestrians; and 15% for motorcyclists. However, pedal cycle fatalities rose by 7%.
Other statistics show that in 5% of all road casualties the driver was over the legal alcohol limit; ‘failed to look’ was a contributory factor in 40% of crashes reported to the police; and the economic welfare cost of reported road accidents was estimated to be around £15bn.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “In 2010, road deaths on Great Britain’s roads fell well below 2,000 for the first time. This was a fantastic achievement. However, there is still more to be done; if all the reported road accidents in 2010 had been prevented, this would have saved almost £15billion – crucial given the current economic climate.
“During the last three years we have had unusually large drops in the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. This very welcome result is due to the focus we have had on road safety, but also to some external factors such as the economic downturn, falling traffic levels and heavy snowfalls over the last two winters.
“We need to consider how we can ensure that the major reductions in death and injury do not stop or, even worse, start to increase if the economy picks up and we have milder winters.”
Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “The value of preventing each fatal crash on UK roads is around £1.8 million, and approximately £200,000 for each serious injury – it’s clear that effective road safety initiatives not only save lives but also save the nation money. The government should think about the real value of road safety initiatives when it considers its expenditure plans.
“As more and more driver aids are introduced we need to re-think the way we approach safe driving. Vehicle technology requires new thinking and an even greater emphasis on the driver as the decision-maker. The challenge now is for us all to treat driving as a skill for life and embrace post-test training.”
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