Increasing fatality and injury levels on UK’s roads
First publishedon www.WorldHighways.com
Concern has been expressed in the UK over the release of accident statistics for 2011 that reveal an increase in road fatalities over the previous year. This is the first national rise in road deaths and serious injuries in 17 years. In all 1,901 people died on the UK’s roads in 2011, an increase of 3% of the figures for 2010 while those seriously injured rose 2% to 23,122. Interestingly, the number of fatalities fell for three types of road user, with a fall of 22% for bus and coach occupants, 10% for motorcyclists and 4% for cyclists.
However fatalities for pedestrian and Car occupants rose by 12% and 6% respectively. Driving under the influence of alcohol is still a major problem and the 2011 data suggests that 9,990 reported casualties (5% of all road casualties) occurred when someone was driving while over the legal alcohol limit. The provisional number of people estimated to have been killed in drink drive accidents was 280, around 15% of all road fatalities and an increase of 30% from those killed in drink drive accidents in 2010. The provisional number of killed and seriously injured because of drink driving rose by 5% to 1570. Amongst pedestrians, there were 383 deaths and 4,947 serious injuries in incidents in which motor vehicles were involved. Cars, excluding taxis and minicabs, were involved in 233 fatal incidents and motorcycles in 18. But the rate vehicle distance travelled for total casualties in reported road accidents and the rate of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) in 2011 were both 15% lower than the 2005-09 average. For fatalities alone, the 2011 rate was 32% lower than the average. Failing to look properly was again the most frequently reported contributory factor involved in accidents and was reported in 42% of all accidents recorded by the police in 2011.
Road safety charity Brake and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) have both commented on the increased deaths and fatalities, pointing to cuts in road safety budgets and a lack of clear policies as being amongst the contributory factors. The cost of road crashes has impacted on the UK economy to the tune of around €19.7 billion (£15.6 billion) according to some estimates. Clearly, the savings from cuts in road safety budgets have clearly been massively outweighed by the much greater costs of emergency services, medical treatment and lowered work productivity, without even mentioning the human cost.
IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said, “The increase in deaths and serious injuries because of drink driving is absolutely shocking. It accounts for more than half of the increase in road deaths. In 2013, we must see a drink driving education campaign, backed up with enforcement, to put an end to these completely unnecessary deaths.