Road safety organisations herald record casualty reduction figures

15.17 | 30 June 2011 | | 1 comment

Following the announcement (30/06/11) that the number of people killed in road crashes has reached an all time low, road safety organisations have reacted positively while calling on the Government to help deliver further casualty reductions.

The DfT report, ‘Road Casualties in Great Britain: Main Results 2010’, revealed that the number of people killed in road crashes fell from 2,222 in 2009 to 1,857 in 2010; a 16% reduction, and the lowest figure since records began in 1926. There were also casualty reductions among most road user groups, with the exception of cyclists.

Road Safety GB praised the work of road safety professionals, but warned that the Government’s lack of commitment to road safety threatens further progress.

Alan Kennedy, chair of Road Safety GB, said: “These figures are very heartening and great tribute to the ongoing high quality work by all of the UK’s road safety professionals.

"We continue to make great strides in terms of making our roads and vehicles safer, and educating and training road users to improve their attitude and behaviour.

"However, while understanding the financial constraints under which it is operating, we are concerned that the present Government is not showing sufficient commitment to road safety.

"The financial cuts it has already made, and its plans for future funding, have resulted in a very visible loss to the profession of many talented and experienced road safety professionals. Our reputation as a world leader in road safety is jeopardised by this.

"Worse still, if this approach continues it is quite possible that crash and casualty rates could rise – and all of the progress we have made over the past decade will unravel.

"As well as a personal tragedy for those involved, road safety collisions and casualties are an enormous financial strain. That’s why investment in road safety makes sense, even in these most difficult of economic circumstances. A relatively small financial investment will deliver very significant financial savings, and we will continue to try to persuade the Government to see the sense in this approach."

RoSPA declared the headline figure a ‘significant achievement’, but raised concern about the increase in the number of cyclist casualties.

Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “That road accident deaths have fallen below 2,000 for the first time since records began is a significant achievement, and particularly considering that much of the reduction has happened in very recent history.

“This achievement proves the value and effectiveness of a comprehensive road safety strategy which has strong Government leadership and involves the joint working of the road safety community.

“Maintaining and improving on this success over coming years, with less money and fewer staff for road safety, plus increasing traffic as the economy improves, will be the challenge.

“The rise in cyclist casualties is clearly disappointing. As the number of people cycling increases, we must find ways to make the roads safer for them, through a combination of road designs that make cycling safer and better education and training for both motorists and cyclists.”

Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), said the figures call into question the Government’s modest targets going forward.

He said: “These figures are obviously a good news story for the road safety profession and for the community that it serves. They are the result of over 20 years’ commitment to improving safety by successive Governments of all parties and by the public, private and professional sectors.

“It is especially good to note that car occupant deaths have fallen by 46% since 2006. This is more than the effect of the recession. It shows that improvements in car design, increased levels of enforcement via safety cameras and drink-drive campaigns, and investment in road engineering make a real difference.

“What these figures do now throw into question is the relevance of the forecasts contained within the DfT’s Strategic Framework for Road Safety. On current trends, we can achieve the central projection on deaths within two years. Even the forecast for 2030 of a reduction of 10% is easily within our grasp.”

Adrian Walsh, director of RoadSafe, said: “This is a remarkable achievement. While there can be no single reason for this reduction it is clear that an effort by drivers themselves, the road safety community as a whole, and the safety investment by roads authorities have contributed. However a remarkable 20% reduction in deaths among car occupants is tribute to the enormous strides in car safety design.”

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “It’s great to see deaths and injuries falling. The partnership between government, local authorities, enforcement agencies and education bodies is saving lives.

“The challenge now for the Government is to treat driving as a skill for life and support post-test training. Equally every individual motorist has to take responsibility for their own road risk, whether that means improving their driving through further training, or simply by taking a bit more care.”

Roger Geffen, CTC campaigns director, said: “Despite months of ice and snow in 2010, cycling is still growing. However, casualties remain high, and there are many areas where Britain is falling farther behind our European counterparts in providing for cycling: We still have only a tiny fraction of our residential streets covered by 20mph while hostile roads, bad driving, and weak law enforcement remain serious barriers to getting more people cycling.


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    Yes, it is great news about road deaths being the lowest since records began. However, in all of my professional life in terms of road safety statistics, I have, in the last few years, been concerned that the overall figures now no longer reflect the real figure for road casualties. Indeed, the DfT’s model estimates a real total that is over 3 times the reported figure. There has always been an ‘iceberg’ effect, but I believe the discrepancy is at its greatest. In Sheffield, figures for the first 5 months of 2011 show that KSI totals are 38% down on the ‘record low’ figure for 2010! The figures are provisional, but further work is needed. In the past, local research has shown that when the Police are concentrating their resources on other matters (Miner’s Stike, Hillsbourough Football Disaster) there can be holes in the figures. I would be interested in the views of others. However, I accept that STATS19 figures are the best we have got, but is that good enough? This should be the subject of a national discussion at GB level. I should add that these are my personal views and not those of the City Council.

    John. D. Wright, Road Safety Statistician, Sheffield City Council
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