There was a sharp year-on-year increase in road casualties of all severities, and killed and seriously injured (KSI) casualties, in the 12-month period ending September 2016.
While the number of road deaths (1,810) rose by a ‘statistically insignificant’ 2%, casualties of all severities (182,560) rose by 4%, and KSI casualties (25,160) increased by 6%.
However, the DfT points out that in the same period there was a 1.4% rise in motor traffic levels, meaning the overall casualty rate per vehicle mile fell by 5%.
In terms of road user types, KSIs increased across all categories. Car occupant KSIs increased the most, up by 10% to 9,480. Pedestrian KSIs increased by 3% to 5,480, motorcyclists by 5% to 5,650 and pedal cyclists by 2% to 3,430.
Focussing on age, there were 2,070 child (0-15 years) KSIs in the year ending September 2016, a year-on-year increase of 8%. Child pedestrian KSIs fell by 2% to 1,260, while child casualties of all severities remained at a similar level (16,080).
Looking specifically at the figures for July to September 2016, 450 people were killed in reported road accidents, unchanged from the same quarter of 2015. KSI casualties increased by 8% to 6,920 over the same period, while casualties of all severities decreased by 4%.
Child KSI casualties increased by 22% to 650, while child casualties of all severities increased by 2% in the third quarter of 2016.
The RAC focused on the increase in child KSIs in Q3 2016, describing the figure as ‘truly shocking’.
Pete Williams, road safety spokesman, said: “A 22% increase in the number of children killed or seriously injured on British roads between July and September 2016 is truly shocking. And an estimated 2% rise in child casualties of all severities is yet more reason to worry.
“In the 21st century this seems utterly wrong so we need to understand as a matter of priority why these increases have occurred and take action to save young lives before more are lost.”
The road safety charity Brake said the figures are a ‘clear indication that action should be taken’, and called for the reintroduction of ‘ambitious road casualty targets to provide motivation for safer roads at the national level’.
Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, said: "The figures are heading in the wrong direction.
“We’re calling for the reintroduction of ambitious road casualty targets, increased investment in infrastructure, and vehicle development to ensure our roads are safe and our vehicles secure. We also need more resources available to the police to enforce the law.”