Report highlights variations in KSI progress

12.00 | 27 May 2015 | | 7 comments

Progress in cutting death and injury on UK roads over the past five years has “varied dramatically”, with big national and regional variations, according to new analysis published by the RAC Foundation, PACTS and Road Safety Analysis.

The figures, revealed in an interim report, show KSI casualty reductions in the period 2010-13, compared with the 2005-9 average. The figures show that while the UK average KSI reduction during the period is -23%, the figures for London (-36%), Northern Ireland (-35%) and Scotland (-33%) are much higher, while in Wales the KSI reduction is lower at -15%.

The authors say that while the report highlights the dramatic differences between geographical areas, the figures “hide a flattening out of the overall downward trend” with the biggest KSI reductions occurring in 2010.

The report shows that while car occupant safety has improved markedly, casualty reduction progress among pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists has been less impressive. Although deaths among these road user groups have declined they are now a larger proportion of all road deaths, rising from 46% in 2005-9 to 49% in 2013. In addition, the absolute number of cyclists seriously injured has risen.

The final version of the report, titled Road Safety Since 2010, will be published in the summer after the 2014 casualty data has been released.

As well as examining official casualty data, the researchers conducted surveys and interviews with stakeholders, including 34 English local authorities, which demonstrated “just how varied road safety policy has become across the UK since 2010”.

In Northern Ireland, road safety is a fully devolved matter; in Scotland while road safety is not fully devolved, Holyrood has powers to set national speed limits and the drink drive limit. In contrast, very few road safety powers have been devolved to the Welsh Government.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The UK risks breaking apart in terms of road safety policy with different administrations having varying levels of power, funding and political will to deal with death and injury on the highways.

“Overall, many fewer people were killed and injured on the roads at the end of the last Westminster parliament than at the beginning. But given the flattening out of casualty figures, a probable increase in casualties in 2014, and a predicted increase in road traffic, it is important that national, regional and local governments review these trends, and share best practice to learn what is, and what isn’t, working.

“Tens of millions of road users have a right to know that that their safety is regarded equally wherever in the UK they travel. They would also expect similar rules to apply whichever side of a border they are on.

“The last Westminster government was hemmed in by economic constraints which extended to road safety. It also decided against setting national road safety targets, arguing they were bureaucratic and ignored local priorities. However many of the professionals interviewed for this report say the lack of targets has pushed road safety down the priority list.

“We would like to see more cross-departmental interest in road safety. At Westminster road safety has traditionally been a matter for the DfT but other departments have crucial roles.

“Given that the NHS is left to pick up the pieces and much of the bill for crashes then health ministers should also be calling for the matter to rise up the political agenda.”


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    I have the Stats19 K and SI numbers by calendar month for every police area from 1987 to 2011 and the speed limit of the road where each injury or accident happened. I would be happy to copy the Excel files to anyone who would like to have then.

    Using that data it is a simple matter to draw and compare graphs showing long term trends within each police area by severity and speed limit. The variations are indeed astonishing – though as Dave wonders, it is far from clear whether they are due to random chance, different policies or priorities.

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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    Maybe the variations are based on an excellent NHS in some areas. Keep a person alive for 31 days the incident will be serious not fatal. Reduce the serious to slight and KSI figures go down. Maybe the official data is not 100% accurate. Our police officers who have to deal with RTAs in all conditions are only human and may get it wrong. (This is not a dig at policing as I have been on patrol with many officers and the pressure to sort out casualties, moving traffic, keeping themselves safe and paperwork at night in the rain is very demanding and I take my hat off to them all.) Maybe the data from A&E is not available or compatible. Lies damn lies and statistics. One national police force, saving money, and one national traffic police department and strategy might help. Discuss!

    Peter Westminster
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    I did not say cyclists support the 20 is plenty scheme as I referred to them as two completely single entities. I could perhaps have written it better. As regards cyclists I stated when it receives government money through whatever means they are still a minority group receiving the lion’s share of public money.

    I concur that by saying this Government would have to pay 20 times more than first anticipated may be a tad inaccurate. It may indeed be that the truer cost is many, many times more than that. 50 or 100 times or more. First, when mentioning the Government it is their adopted intervention to reduce casualties as part of efforts within Europe to reduce casualty figures. The original intervention they envisaged was for blanket 20 mph limits in all towns, cities and villages. A simple concept. This would have been costed out for 20 mph signs on the few roads for entry and egress. However one street in Blackpool now has more than a dozen signs on it and each one costs. As you say that cost is being born by Local Authorities and let’s not forget possibly by the Highway Agencies. The Highways Agency is funded directly by government and the Local Authorities receive money from the government in order to facilitate this measure. I have not yet seen any local authority complaining of the money paid out for such schemes, such as the 2.5 million in Glasgow as basically it is being funded through money paid to them initially by central Government through whatever means.

    Bob Craven Lancs. Safe is Space Campaigner
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    If you are aware of any national budgets for what you call a 20’s Plenty scheme then I would like to be informed of it. And also where have you got the 20 times figure from? All the 20mph schemes implemented have been decided by traffic authorities rather than central government. The claim that 20mph schemes are only supported by “the small minority who use bicycles” is rather wide of the mark. The vast majority of those supporting 20mph schemes are not specifically cyclists and most do not cycle. They comprise people who walk, cycle, drive, run shops, are responsible for public health, want better social inclusion and civic amenity.

    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    If you look at the Scottish reports available through another piece on this site you will see a massive reduction in stats, kills etc. That’s because money has been put into realistic interventions that apparently will and do reduce the road toll. Maybe the same is happening in London, another singularity with its own autonomy and finance. Both have developed an insight and plan or plans, as opposed to Wales (looking round for ideas at the moment) and the rest of England who have been suffering greater and greater financial constraints due to the economic climate.

    That said, this government has spent and is still spending billions on one, no two, singularities in order to achieve a distant goal of KSI reductions – the 20 is plenty scheme which will cost this government possibly some 20 times its original estimate, and the support to the small minority of those who use bicycles.

    The other month we read that some 1 million pounds is being given to a charity to teach cyclists how to mend a puncture.

    Can I please apply for one million pounds to help educate at least 15000 young motorcyclists on the Space is Safe campaign and the No Surprise No Accident initiative.

    Bob Craven Lancs….Space is Safe Campaigner.
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    Very interesting question David and it will be interesting to see what sort of answers people come up with.

    Duncan MacKillop. No surprise – No accident.
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    Are the differences simply random variation? Is there any evidence that they aren’t just random?

    Dave Finney, Slough
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