Road deaths reach five-year high in 2016

12.00 | 28 September 2017 | | 3 comments


New DfT statistics show there were 1,792 reported road deaths in 2016, a year-on-year rise of 4%.

Published today (28 Sept), the 2016 figures show an increase of 62 fatalities – and the highest annual road deaths total since 2011.

The DfT describes the increase as ‘statistically insignificant’ and says ‘it is likely that that natural variation in the figures explains the change’.

There was also a rise in the number of child (15 years or under) road deaths – up 28% to 69. This figure is the highest since 2009 – although the DfT points out that child fatalities have ‘fluctuated between 48 and 69 over 2010 to 2016 with no clear trend’. 

The total number of serious injuries also rose to 24,101. However, because of a change in system for reporting by some police forces*, the DfT says this figure should not be compared to previous years.

Casualties of all severities fell by 3% to 181,384 in 2016 – the lowest level on record. The DfT describes this fall as statistically significant.

Looking at road user type, car occupants accounted for 816 fatalities – equating to 46% of the total, and an 8% year-on-year rise.

The biggest rise in deaths was seen among pedestrians. 448 deaths represents 25% of the 2016 total and a 10% year-on-year rise.

The number of cyclist fatalities also rose, up 2% to 102 (6% share). However, the number of motorcyclist deaths fell by 13% to 319 (18% share).

Despite the rise in child fatalities, the total number of casualties among this group fell by 1% to 15,976. Of those, 38% were pedestrians with 22% occurring between 3-5pm, and 14% between 7-9am, on a weekday – at times when children are travelling to and from school.

The number of road deaths among older people (60 years and over) also rose, up 8% to 533.

The 2016 casualty figures come against a backdrop of a 2.2% year-on-year rise in motor traffic levels.

*Approximately half of English police forces adopted the CRASH (Collision Recording and Sharing) system for recording road traffic collisions at the end of 2015, or the first part of 2016.

In addition, the Metropolitan Police Service switched to a new reporting system called COPA (Case Overview Preparation Application) from September 2016.

In CRASH and COPA, the police officer records the type of injuries suffered by the casualty rather than the severity (severity is measured simply as ‘slight’ or ‘serious’)

Under other systems, to record severity directly, police officers need to determine themselves which injury type classifies into each of the two severity types.

CRASH and COPA are designed to eliminate any uncertainty that arises from the officer having to make their own judgement – and therefore be more accurate.

Category: Statistics & data.



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    In the first page of the report it appears that comparisons are now being made and assumptions that due to the changes in CRASH the reporting of the severity of the injuries this may apparently cause a difference.

    However the true fact is that no matter that there were changes made in the statistical recording of injuries, it did in no way affect the numbers that were subsequently killed on our roads.

    m.worthington Manchester
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    Of the 816 car occupant fatalities, how many were not wearing their seatbelts? That would be more useful to know rather, than just a stark statistic, otherwise it’s just more head-scratching and hand-wringing.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Every fatality is a sad loss, and it would be helpful to see how much the traffic has increased, since the last report, then see statistics based on the whole number of vehicles, and percentages based on the new figures. When we see the whole picture, then trends can be established. From a reader’s point of view there is a 4% increase in fatalities, but how do we know the total traffic hasn’t increased more than 4%?

    Peter D’Silva, Exmouth.
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