Road Casualty Figures Drop in Britain

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said it welcomes the significant drops in death and injury but cautions that the success is partly due to unusual economic and weather factors which may not continue in coming years.

Figures published by the Department for Transport Thursday show that 1,850 people were killed in reported road accidents in Great Britain during 2010, a reduction of 372 (17 percent) from 2009’s figure. A further 22,660 people were seriously injured (a reduction of eight percent), and 184,138 people were slightly injured (a reduction of six percent).

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said it welcomes the significant drops in death and injury but cautions that the success is partly due to unusual economic and weather factors which may not continue in coming years.

Despite the overall reduction in casualties, there was a rise in the number of cyclists killed, 111, an increase of seven (seven percent) from 2009. The number of cyclists seriously injured also increased by two percent to 2,660. The number of casualties in heavy-goods vehicles (HGVs) also rose: there was a 100 percent increase in HGV occupants who were killed—from 14 in 2009 to 28 in 2010—and a five percent increase in those who were seriously injured—from 175 in 2009 to 184 in 2010.

The number of children who were killed on the road fell by one-third, from 81 in 2009 to 55 in 2010. Deaths and injuries in other high-risk groups also fell. Passenger deaths in cars with young drivers fell by 36 percent from 145 to 93 and young driver deaths fell by 17 percent from 191 to 158. Pedestrian deaths fell by 19 percent from 500 to 405 and motorcycle user deaths by 15 percent from 472 to 403. The number of people killed in accidents in which a driver was using a mobile phone increased from 15 in 2009 to 28 in 2010.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety for RoSPA, said, “In 2010, road deaths on Great Britain’s roads fell well below 2,000 for the first time. This was a fantastic achievement. However, there is still more to be done.

“During the last three years we have had unusually large drops in the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. This very welcome result is due to the focus we have had on road safety, but also to some external factors such as the economic downturn, falling traffic levels, and heavy snowfalls over the last two winters. We need to consider how we can ensure that the major reductions in death and injury do not stop or, even worse, start to increase if the economy picks up and we have milder winters,” Clinton said.

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