At a time when road safety budgets where slashed by £23m, 50 councils in England saw an increase of more than 10% in killed and seriously injured (KSI) casualties between 2010 and 2011, according to the IAM.
The IAM analysis of DfT figures reveals that the biggest increases were seen in St Helens (62%), Portsmouth (57%), Stoke on Trent (57%), and Coventry (51%). A further 76 councils saw increases in the KSI rate above the national average of 2%.
The IAM says that local councils in England slashed their road safety budgets by 15% (£23m) last year, compared to average spending cuts of just 6% for other council services.
In London, Croydon witnessed the biggest increase in KSIs, where figures rose from 87 in 2010 to 109 in 2011, while in Bexley KSIs decreased from 68 in 2010 to 49 in 2011 – the largest decrease in the Capital.
The Association of British Drivers used the IAM analysis to highlight the 57% casualty rise in Portsmouth, where a 20-mph zone has been introduced. The ABD concludes that “the expenditure of over £500,000 of taxpayers’ money on this scheme was a total waste of money” and that “the money should have been spent on other road safety measures that are known to be effective”.
Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “It is concerning that road deaths and serious injuries rose last year. Road accidents usually drop during an economic recession, so this rise after continuous reductions over the last 10 years is particularly concerning.
“Ministers should take this as a serious warning. Cutting road safety education and reductions in local authority spending suggest that road safety isn’t a major priority for this Government. We need targets on reducing casualties for local councils so that performance can be checked. This would help make sure that councils look at new and innovative ways to save lives on our roads.”
For more information contact the IAM on 020 8996 9777.