DfT stats show deaths up but KSIs down – and no change in drink drive fatalities

12.00 | 4 February 2016 | | 4 comments

Two sets of data released today (4 Feb) by the DfT show an increase in road deaths, but a reduction in KSIs and all casualties for the 12-months ending Sept 2015 – while the number of drink drive deaths in 2014 was the same as in 2013.

The figures for the 12-month period ending September 2015, reveal that there were 1,780 road deaths, an increase of 3% in comparison to the year ending September 2014.

There were 23,700 killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties, a 3% decrease, and 188,830 casualties of all severities, 3% lower than the previous year.

Between July and September 2015 there were 450 road deaths, a 2% decrease from the same quarter in 2014, with KSI casualties also falling by 3%.

In the three-month period, slightly injured casualties and overall total casualties both fell by 1% compared with the same quarter in 2014.

In a separate report, the second set of provisional estimates for 2014 show between 210 and 270 people were killed in accidents in Great Britain where at least one driver was over the drink drive limit, with a central estimate of 240 deaths. This is unchanged from 2013.

The number of seriously injured casualties in drink drive accidents decreased by 2% from 1,100 in 2013 to 1,080 while the total number of casualties of all types in drink drive accidents is 8,220, down 1% on the 2013 figure. If these figures are confirmed in the final estimates published later this year, they will become the lowest numbers on record.

The total number of drink drive accidents of all severities fell by 1% to 5,620.

Stakeholder reaction to the 2014 drink drive casualty figures

Road Safety GB has expressed concern over the number of drivers who continue to get behind the wheel while over the alcohol limit.

Liz Brooker, RSGB’s specialist on drink-driving, said: "RSGB are concerned that despite the majority of drivers knowing that drink driving is not just illegal but dangerous, a small number still continue to take a chance.

"This is reflected in the statistics, we need to make sure that everybody understands that drinking and driving is a risk – this doesn’t mean ‘off your face’ drunk, but anything over the legal limit will impair driving skills.

"If you suspect a driver has been drinking, refuse a lift, try to persuade them to get a cab, bus or walk with you! RSGB will continue to support educational and enforcement approaches designed to eradicate this most anti-social of behaviours."

The Institute of Advanced Motorists is concerned that the number of drink-drive deaths is “flatlining”.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research, said: “The latest statistics show that Britain is flatlining on drink-drive deaths. Total numbers of drink-drive accidents have gone down slightly but 20 people still die every month in an alcohol related crash – this is simply unacceptable.

“The government has increased the powers of the police to make it more difficult to avoid detection but they continue to avoid the one simple measure that could deliver fewer deaths immediately – a lower drink drive limit in line with Scotland.  A recent IAM survey showed 70% of drivers support this measure.”

The RAC has also expressed concern over the ‘stubbornly high’ number of drink drive fatalities.

David Bizley, chief engineer, said: “The numbers of people killed as a result of drink-drive accidents has now remained stubbornly high for the past five years. Despite drink-driving being seen as socially-unacceptable by the vast majority of motorists, this suggests there is a ‘hard core’ of people that continue to flout the law, putting both their lives and the lives of others at serious risk.

“The British Road Safety Statement, published in December, stated that the UK Government is ‘targeting high risk drink-drive offenders using a range of tools, including technological and educational solutions.’ We hope this commitment, combined with the fatality figures published today, act as a catalyst for action targeted at challenging the dangerous actions of this minority of drivers.”



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    Perhaps we’re reaching the limits of what current road safety policy and technology can do to prevent various types of road users mingling together and colliding on roads? I think it is also worth remembering that as part of the EU, there are a substantial number of left hand drive vehicles, and drivers who were trained to drive on the left, in the UK. DfT casualty data (ras40005.xls) only records left hand drive vehicles, but not right hand drive vehilces driven by those who are more used to driving on the left. The latest data shows 1,687 casualties of all severities involving LHD vehilces, although some motorcycles were coded a LHD for some reason! I’d also like to see more detailed analysis of drink drive collions from the point of view of all contributory factors/fault – not just BAC.

    Paul Biggs, Staffordshire
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    As someone who has tried to make sense of injury road accident data for the past 8 years whilst watching others strive year in year out to collect and input the “best” data they can I was surprised to read on page 10 of the DfT release how bad data collection is this year.

    Steven Cross, Leicestershire
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    Once again a set of results wherein any good news is somewhat tempered and there is little to give any serious confidence we are making progress. Richard Owen has written up an interesting blog on interpreting the quarterly update for any who might be interested. http://www.roadsafetyanalysis.org/2016/02/can-we-rely-on-the-dfts-in-year-provisional-estimates/

    Dan Campsall, Road Safety Analysis
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    Seems a strange way to present data – K up but KSI down? Don’t you mean SI down, K up?

    Paul Biggs, Staffordshire
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