Friday 9th August 2019
Number of road deaths remains virtually unchanged since 2012

Governmental data has shown that the number of fatalities on the road has reduced by just one per cent year on year, demonstrating a significant lack of change.

Tristan Shale-Hester, Auto Express, reports:

The number of road deaths in the UK has remained virtually unchanged since 2012, according to the latest Government statistics.

New data released by the Department for Transport (DfT) reveals there were 1,782 fatalities on UK roads in 2018 – a mere one per cent reduction from 2017 and an increase on 2012’s figure of 1,754, illustrating a lack of any significant change in the last six years.

Police received reports of 25,484 serious injuries in 2018 – a figure which can’t be compared with those of previous years due to changes in the way police forces classify the severity of injuries.

There were a total of 160,378 casualties of all severities on UK roads throughout the year – a six per cent decrease from 2017.

In the decade from 2008 to 2018, the number of UK road deaths fell by 30 per cent, as a result of significant decreases in the number of casualties between 2006 and 2010.

The DfT says that the UK is now in “a period when the fatality numbers are stable and most of the changes relate to random variation”, with certain “one-off causes” and “natural variation” occasionally having an effect.

This is in contrast to what motoring groups say, though, with experts arguing the lack of continued progress in reducing road deaths is a result of the DfT not setting clear targets in the same way it did between 2006 and 2010.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy at the AA, commented: “When the Government had clear and challenging road safety targets, there were significant improvements in road safety, but since their removal in 2010, progress stopped. These should be reinstated as Britain sets out to have the safest roads in the world.”

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, added: “While it’s difficult to know if the removal of road casualty reduction targets and spending cuts in road safety advertising which occurred around this time have played a role here or not, we must now look to the future and hope the Government’s latest road safety proposals go some way towards improving things.”

Cousens and Lyes both concluded that reducing the number of annual road deaths must be one of the top priorities for the new transport secretary, Grant Shapps.

The article presents two contrasting arguments to how this data has been interpreted, with an official government stance that shows the benefits of keeping these figures stable, and the more reactive response which highlights how a lack of targets has stagnated the improvement of the safety of our roads.

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