Final figures published today (29 Sept) by the DfT show there were 1,730 reported road deaths in 2015, a year-on-year decrease of 3%.
The figure is the second lowest annual total on record (after 2013) and very slightly adjusts initial estimates published earlier this year, when the figure stood at 1,732.
The number of people seriously injured fell by 3% to 22,144, while the total number of casualties also saw a year-on-year reduction, down 4% to 186,189.
When the provisional figures were announced earlier this year, the DfT described the road deaths total as ‘fairly stable’ and statistically unchanged since 2011. With regard to serious and slight injuries, the reductions were described as ‘statistically significant’.
In terms of vulnerable road users, there was a 9% fall in pedestrian deaths (408) and 12% fall in pedal cyclist deaths (100), but an 8% rise in motorcyclist deaths (365). Car fatalities fell by 5% to 754.
These casualty figures come against a backdrop of increased traffic levels, which rose by 1.6%.
The annual report also looks into factors affecting road casualty levels, including population changes, older people and the number of drivers taking the test.
The DfT’s report shows that while over the last 30 years Great Britain’s population has grown by 15% (8.1m people), road fatalities have fallen by 68% (3,655 deaths).
The population of older people (aged 70 and older) has increased relatively rapidly over recent years and the report says this carries implications for higher levels of casualties in this age group in the future.
In 2014, the DfT attributed the overall rise in deaths to an increase in deaths among those aged 60 years or more. In 2015, however, the casualty rate among this age group fell: fatalities decreased by 8% to 492, while the number of serious injuries fell by 2% to 3,945.
At the other end of the driving spectrum, after a number of years of falling numbers of people taking the driving test, there has been an increase over the last three years. The report suggests that having more younger drivers on the roads could increase risk and casualties in the coming years.
In 2015, around 4,860 people were admitted to hospital in the UK as a result of road traffic accidents, a figure which has remained relatively static over recent years.