Road Safety GB has cautiously welcomed the DfT’s latest casualty figures issued today.
The DfT’s estimated quarterly figures (July-Sept ’09) show that for the year ending September 2009, casualties were down 5% and fatalities down 7% compared to the previous 12 months.
While casualty and fatality rates for pedestrians, motorcyclists, car users and child passengers all decreased, the number of cyclists KSIs increased by 5%.
Despite the recent introduction of stricter penalties, figures from a separate DfT survey into seatbelt and mobile phone use in England showed that the number of car drivers using hand held mobile phones had increased from 1.1% to 1.4%, and the number of van and lorry drivers from 2.2% to 2.6%, compared to a similar survey in 2008.
Alan Kennedy, Road Safety GB chair, said: “Over the last decade we have seen a significant reduction in the number of casualties on our roads and we are encouraged to see this trend continuing.
“However, two areas of grave concern are the safety of cyclists and the continuing problem of drivers using mobile phones.
“It is staggering to see an increase in the number of drivers choosing to ignore the fatal danger they present by using a mobile phone at the wheel – both to themselves and other road users.
“The change in the law, which means drivers now face a fine and up to three penalty points, has clearly not been effective, so we must consider stronger action.
“A driver is four times more likely to cause a crash when using a mobile phone whilst behind the wheel – it is a completely irresponsible action that must be stamped out.”
Click here to read the full Road Safety GB news release.