Total road casualties were down 4% and the number of fatalities down 12% in 2009, compared to the previous year – despite an increase in traffic volume.
The figures are revealed in the DfT statistical report ‘Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2009: Annual Report’, which is published today (23 September).
The statistics, based on information about personal injury road accidents reported to the police, demonstrate a general decrease in the level and severity of road traffic accidents, despite an increase in traffic volume.
There were 222,146 reported casualties of all severities, 4% lower than in 2008. 2,222 people were killed, 12% lower than in 2008, 24,690 were seriously injured (down 5%) and 195,234 were slightly injured (down 4%).
The number of fatalities fell for almost all types of road user, with a fall of 16% for car occupants, 13% for pedestrians, 10% for pedal cyclists and 4% for motorcyclists.
Compared with the 1994-98 average, in 2009, the number killed was 38% lower, the number of reported killed or seriously injured casualties was 44% lower, the number of children killed or seriously injured was 61% lower, and the slight casualty rate was 37% lower. In contrast traffic rose by an estimated 15% over this period.
Alan Kennedy, chair of Road Safety GB, said: "These casualty statistics are very encouraging and are testament to the excellent work being carried out by the DfT at national level, and road safety officers at local and regional levels.
"It is vital that we are able to continue with road safety initiatives and partnership projects that are contributing to this trend of significant casualty reduction.
"We urge the government to ensure that future targeted attitudinal and behavioural interventions are adequately funded to enable us to continue to help those who are at greatest risk of become involved in a road collision."
In 2009, it was estimated that 11,990 reported casualties (5% of all road casualties) occurred when someone was driving while over the legal alcohol limit.
The provisional number of people estimated to have been killed in drink drive accidents was 380 in 2009 (17% of all road fatalities), a decrease of 20 fatalities compared to the final 2008 estimate.
The provisional number of killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties in 2009 was 1,860, 8% below the final 2008 estimate.
Click here to read the full DfT report.