Following a year impacted by Covid-19 restrictions, provisional figures for 2020 confirm an expected fall in the number of road deaths.
The DfT figures, published on 24 June, show there were 1,472 road deaths in 2020, a year-on-year decrease of 16%.
There were slightly larger reductions in the number of people killed or seriously injured (down 22% to 23,486) and casualties of all severities (down 25% to 115,333).
The DfT says during lockdown months, there may have been low levels of reporting for slight casualties which may be linked to the larger reduction in these casualties.
The reduction in road traffic followed a similar trend in 2020 and decreased by 21%.
Looking specifically at the impact of Covid-19, road casualties saw the greatest monthly decrease in April 2020 – down 68% compared to the three-year average for 2017 to 2019.
This aligns with the first full month of national lockdown and the reduction in motor traffic (63%).
A smaller reduction was reported in the second national lockdown in November. Casualties of all severities decreased by 35% compared to the three-year average for 2017 to 2019.
Cycle deaths rise amid falling figures
The drop in deaths varied among different road user types, with pedestrians (25%), motorcyclists (16%) and car occupants (15%) all experiencing falls.
However, the number of cyclists killed rose by 40%.
The DfT’s Covid-19 transport use statistics and the National Travel Attitudes Study (NTAS) suggest that there has been an increase in cycling during the pandemic, while conversely motor vehicle traffic has reduced.
So much so, pedal cyclist casualty rates saw the greatest percentage decrease (34%) compared to all other road user types.
The DfT says a more detailed analysis of casualty rates for pedestrians and pedal cyclists will be provided as part of the 2020 annual statistics scheduled for publication in September 2021.