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Growing concern over rise in road deathsBack

RoaddeathThe Department for Transport has just published the latest road death statistics leaving many people very concerned about the alarming increase in road deaths in the UK.

Statistics show an increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured, in particular pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, last year compared to 2013.

Overall casualties have risen for the first time since 1997, prompting bodies such as the Institute of Advanced Motoring (IAM) to urge the government to take action.

The IAM has encouraged the government to take necessary measures to reduce these worrying figures before they become a trend. The company is also campaigning to move pedestrian protection further up the agenda and reverse the decline in police traffic officers.

Latest figures reveal that there were 1,775 reported deaths in 2014, an increase of 4 per cent in comparison to 2013, and an increase of 5 per cent in the number of people killed or seriously injured, taking the overall total to 24,582. A total 194,477 casualties were reported on all severities, representing an increase of 6 per cent and the first overall increase since 1997.

Pedestrian fatalities showed some of the highest increases from 398 in 2013 to 446 in 2014, a 12 per cent rise, which could coincide with vehicle levels increasing by 2.4 per cent between the same time. Furthermore, the number of people killed on roads at 20mph increased by 367%.

The results coincided with Scotland’s road casualty figures reported last week, showing a total of 11,240 casualties in 2014 including 200 more fatalities than in 2013.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “These figures are greatly concerning and show the time for action is now.

“We are clear on what needs to happen. We call again for road safety targets to be reintroduced – they are the only clear way of ensuring reductions are measured and achieved.”

The IAM believes there should be a greater focus on driver and rider quality and more incentives for companies and individuals to continuously develop their skills, as well as a focus on tackling pedestrian deaths, and area it believes is often ignored.

Neil suggested manufacturers should pursue developments like pop-up bonnets, pedestrian airbags and detector systems.

He added: “We also need better pedestrian facilities to segregate traffic and vulnerable users where speeds are high, and campaigns to educate pedestrians themselves as they are most often at fault in crashes.”

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at RoSPA, said: “As our economy improves, we can expect traffic levels to continue to increase, so we must do everything we can to make sure this does not lead to even more increases in road crashes and casualties.

“The reductions in road death and injury in recent years will not automatically be sustained, without a continued focus on road safety.

“We must remain focussed on making our roads safer for everyone, and especially for people travelling on foot and by two wheels.

“With an aging population we must renew our efforts to reverse this phenomenon.”

RoSPA suggests the following measures could help prevent deaths and life-changing injuries:

  • A reduction in the drink-drive limit in England and Wales to 50mg, to match Scotland and most of Europe
  • The introduction of a package of measures to reduce crashes involving young drivers, such as graduated driver licensing
  • Help for employers to reduce the risks their staff face and create when they drive or ride for work
  • Creation of a safe cycling environment and improvement of driver and cyclist attitudes and behaviour towards each other
  • Introducing safer vehicles into our fleet as quickly as possible as vehicle technology improves
  • Ensuring there are sufficient numbers of road police officers to properly enforce road safety laws

Posted by Leana Kell on 26/06/2015