The number of injuries sustained in road traffic collisions in Wales fell by approximately 80% in April, a new report shows.
The report, published by Public Health Wales, examines the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on road traffic crashes.
It found that between January and May 2020, there was a 47% decrease in health service treatment of road traffic crash injuries, compared with the same period in 2019.
Between January and May 2019, around 1,000 people per month attended emergency departments in Wales following a RTC.
In April 2020 – the first full month of lockdown – this reduced to below 200, a reduction of approximately 80%.
Government statistics show, across the UK, there was a 60% reduction in motor vehicle traffic between February and April.
Dr Sarah Jones, a consultant in public health, says the reduction in casualties “does show what is possible” to achieve.
Looking forward, she adds the challenge is to identify policies that aim to maintain positive changes in behaviour and encourage active travel.
Dr Sarah Jones said: “Unfortunately road traffic crashes are a consequence of transport and travel. At a time of significant change to our transport and travel behaviours we also saw that injuries sustained in road traffic crashes were almost halved.
“While this is welcome news in terms of the human cost of travel and transport, more work over a longer time period will be needed to establish if there is a permanent ‘COVID-19 effect’ on road crash injuries.
“We have all experienced drastic changes to our lives since January.
“While these controls are necessary but often unwelcome, the fact that reductions in crashes have been achieved in a short timescale does show what is possible.
“The challenge ahead is to identify policies that aim to maintain positive changes in behaviour encouraging active travel, and integrating that with safe and sustainable public transport options when appropriate we can maintain positive behaviour changes.
“If a reduction in car use and an increase in home working can be sustained, it could contribute long term to a sustained decrease in crashes.”