Road deaths in Britain at their highest for five years
- Some 62 more people were killed on British roads last year than in 2015
- Pedestrian deaths rose the most, up by 10% on the previous year
- Total casualties were 3% lower, suggesting greater risk of life-changing injuries and death on British roads than in recent years
- Motoring groups the AA and RAC have called for more to be done to save lives
The number of people killed on British roads hit a five-year high in 2016, new statistics have confirmed.
Official Department for Transport figures said there were 1,792 reported casualties on the road last year – up four per cent on 2015 numbers and the highest toll for half a decade.
Pedestrian fatalities saw the biggest rise – up 10 per cent.
AA president Edmund King said an average of five deaths on British roads per day is ‘totally unacceptable’, while the RAC said ‘more could, and should, be done to save lives’.
‘More could, and should, be done to save lives’: Official statistics show that the number of road fatalities dropped significantly between 2006 and 2010, however there have been no substantial declines in road deaths since
According to the DfT’s figures released on Thursday, 62 more people were killed on roads in Britain in 2016 than the year previous.
As well as deaths being higher, the number of people seriously hurt in accidents on the road also increased.
Some 24,101 people suffered serious injuries last year, the report confirmed – that’s a nine per cent jump on numbers for 2015.
It’s despite overall casualties – including deaths, seriously injured and slightly injured – being three per cent down, suggesting traffic accidents are more likely to have a life-changing impact than in previous years.
However, the DfT defended an increase of 1,957 serious injuries by claiming that some police forces have adapted their reporting systems, with many minor injuries now being classified as serious.
Almost half (46 per cent) of those killed on the road in 2016 were car drivers – a total of 816, up eight per cent on the year before.
A quarter of the 1,792 deaths (448) were pedestrians, while 102 cyclists fatalities was a two per cent rise on 2015.
The only road users that saw a decline in the number of deaths were motorcyclists. Rider casualties were down 13 per cent on 2015, however 319 victims made up 18 per cent of the total deaths.
Pedestrian losses were 10% higher than the year previous, It now means that one in four of those killed on the road are not drivers
The DfT report said the four per cent rise in road deaths was ‘not statistically significant’ and was likely due to ‘natural variation’.
The number of deaths in 2016 were almost half that of a decade before. In 2006, 3,172 people died on the road, however figures have failed to decline substantially in recent years, something the DfT report admitted.
‘The trend in the number of fatalities has been broadly flat since 2010,’ the Reported road casualties in Great Britain report said.
‘Previously, and particularly between 2006 and 2010, the general trend was for fatalities to fall.
‘Since that point, though, most of the year on year changes are either explained by one-off causes (for instance the snow in 2010) or natural variation.
‘The evidence points towards Britain being in a period when the fatality numbers are fairly stable and most of the changes relate to random variation.’
Just 5% of all road deaths in Britain occurred on motorways, the DfT confirmed. More than half (51%) took place on roads outside of built-up areas
All casualties – including those killed, seriously injured and slightly injured – were down by 3%. That means there’s a higher chance of death or life-changing injury from a crash than in previous years
The RAC questioned if enough was being done to reduce road casualties. It noted that the report blamed a 2.2 per cent rise in road traffic volumes between 2015 and 2016 and called for the government to ‘redouble its efforts’ to bring the number of road deaths down.
Road casualties linked to economic activity
The DfT report said that research carried out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2015 found that accidents and causalities increase as economic development increases in a country.
This is because as an economy grows so does the volume of traffic in that country.
Greater traffic volumes then result in more accidents, the DfT said.
‘This continues until a critical threshold in economic development in reached,’ it said.
‘At that point, better training, vehicle standards, enforcement and engineering all start to dominate to counteract the effect from traffic increases.
‘As a result, the number of accidents and resulting casualties start to decrease, even if traffic volumes continue to grow.’
Pete Williams, road safety spokesman for the RAC said: ‘The report clearly states that ‘there is unlikely to be as large falls in casualties as there were earlier on without further significant interventions.’ This is surely an admission that more could, and should, be done to save lives.
‘Simply because there is more traffic on our roads does not mean that we should accept that road deaths will inevitably go up.
‘Significant progress was made in reducing road deaths between 2006 and 2010, but since then figures have at first plateaued, and are now rising.’
The AA’s Edmund King was even more cutting about the figures, saying: ‘It is of great concern that road deaths in Great Britain seem to have plateaued out over the last five years. Five deaths per day is totally unacceptable.
‘Whilst the increase may not be ‘statistically significant’ it is certainly significant to the 62 individuals and their families.
‘Ultimately we need to aim for vision zero with no road deaths but to get there we need more action.
‘It will be a combination of better education, engineering (inside the car as well as infrastructure) and crucially, effective enforcement. There is definitely more we can do to educate via speed awareness and other corrective courses.
‘Re-introducing targets and aiming for towards vision zero would be a step in the right direction.’
Almost three quarters of all causalities take place on roads in built-up areas, suggesting more needs to be done to protect vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists
More than half (51 per cent) of all fatalities occurred on roads in non built-up areas, with just five per cent of deaths on British motorways.
In contrast, more than two thirds of serious and slight injuries occurred on roads in built-up areas, which would more likely involve pedestrians and cyclists.
Regionally, the South East saw the biggest spike in road fatalities, up 19 per cent.
However, almost half of the total increase in deaths was due to an 18 per cent rise in Scotland, up from 162 victims in 2015 to 191 losses in 2016.
Fatalities on roads in England increased from 1,463 in 2015 to 1,498 in 2016.
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online