The latest DfT road casualty figures, for the second quarter of 2012, show a year-on-year 6% reduction in the number of fatalities, but a 1% increase in the number killed or seriously injured.
However, the DfT has acknowledged that the figures, published in Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: Quarterly Provisional Estimates Q2 2012, are probably skewed by the extremely wet weather in the period.
In the year ending June 2012, 1,790 people were killed in reported road accidents and 24,870 were killed or seriously injured.
Comparing Q2 2012 against Q2 2011, there was a 6% fall in deaths and serious injuries, and an 18% fall in deaths alone.
However, the DfT warns that single quarter comparisons should be treated with caution and that the extremely wet weather across England in Q2 2012 may make comparison with earlier years difficult.
Overall for year ending June 2012 the number of reported injury accidents and casualties of any severity fell by 3% and 4% respectively from to the June 2011 figures. Motor vehicle traffic levels were virtually the same in both periods.
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) says the figures “allow no room for complacency”.
Robert Gifford, executive director of PACTS, said: “As the DfT rightly warns, this was a period of extremely wet weather across England which may have affected the amount of road use.
“Clearly it is welcome to see the long-term decline in deaths continue. However, KSI injuries have risen 1% over the last year so there can be no room for complacency.
“Of even greater concern is the increase in deaths and serious injuries of vulnerable road users over the last year. Pedestrian KSI are up by 5%, cyclist KSI by 9% and motorcyclist KSI by 5%. If figures for the next six months do not improve significantly, we will see little improvement in the safety of these groups in 2012.
“The new team of ministers at the Department has identified that road safety remains a priority. I welcome this public commitment. What we need to see now is a review of the current Strategic Framework and its Action Plan to ensure that we have a long-term vision for road safety beyond 2015.”
Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “In the six months before these results there were increases in the numbers killed and seriously injured. This drop has not made up for that.
“We need to do much more to turn this quarter’s figures into a trend. Upgrading roads, targeted safety campaigns and measures to improve road user awareness among new drivers are needed.
“The drop in road casualties is really good news but the DfT admits that it is likely to be linked to this year’s wet weather. We shouldn’t rely on a few months of dodgy weather to get cyclists and motorcyclists casualties down.”