Stakeholders have given mixed reactions to figures published yesterday (25 Sept) by the DfT which show that road deaths dropped to an all time low in 2013.
While welcoming the overall fall in casualties, GEM Motoring Assist expressed concern at the rise in child pedestrian casualties and motorway fatalities.
David Williams MBE, GEM chief executive, said: “We are concerned at the rise in child pedestrian fatalities (up from 20 in 2012 to 26 in 2013), the rise in motorway fatalities (from 88 in 2012 to 100 in 2013) and the substantial rise in motorcycle motorway fatalities (from four in 2012 to 14 in 2013).”
To address these concerns, GEM is calling for better enforcement of road traffic laws, higher fines for offences involving driver distraction, and a thorough review of motorway safety.
In a similar vein, the IAM welcomed the overall fall but pointed out there have been increases in motorway, van and LGV and child pedestrian fatalities – and pointed to a 5% increase in killed and serious injuries for all road users in deprived areas.
Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “We welcome the overall decrease in road deaths although the long term trends show improvements are slowing down.
“It’s worrying that motorways have seen an increase in deaths, which is only partly explained by the increase in traffic on them. It is vital the Government keeps a close eye on these figures as the Highway Agency rolls out its programme of widespread hard-shoulder running as opposed to proper motorway widening.
“The problem of death and serious injury among motorcycle riders remains and we want to see more use of training opportunities and partnerships to improve both skills and attitudes.”
Brake said the figures show “disappointingly slow progress in reducing road casualties”, and that the Government “needs to do much more to reduce casualties faster”.
Julie Townsend, Brake’s deputy chief executive, said: "Road casualties in the UK are falling, but they are not falling nearly fast enough. Since 2010, progress has stalled dramatically. At this rate, it will be many more decades before we reach the only acceptable number of casualties on our roads, and that number is zero.”