UK Government must show “much greater leadership” on road safety
First publishedon www.WorldHighways.com
A leading road safety campaigner has urged the UK government to show “much greater leadership” on the issue after new Department for Transport (DfT) figures revealed a rise in pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads.
The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI) on UK roads between April 1 and June 30, 2012 rose 13% to 700, compared to 621 over the same three months of 2011.
Pedestrian KSI numbers rose 8% to 1,570, from 1,455 in Q1 2010; and there was also an 8% rise in motorcycle KSI’s to 1,110, compared to 1,024 over the same three months of 2011.
In contrast to cyclist, pedestrian and motorcyclist figures, there was a 4% drop in the number of car users killed or seriously injured in Q1 2012 (2,140 from 2,227).
Overall, the total number of road users killed or seriously injured during the period was 4% higher (5,790) than in Q1 2011 (5,594). However, with the inclusion of slight injury cases, the estimated total of all road casualties between April 1 and June 30, 2012, was down by 2% (46,270), compared to the same period of 2011 (47,235).
“It is unacceptable that road deaths and serious injuries have risen for children [up 9%], pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists,” said Simon Best, chief executive of road safety charity IAM.
“Cutting road safety education, scrapping casualty targets and cuts in council spending all suggest this isn’t a major priority. The government needs to show much greater leadership on road safety.”
National cyclists' organisation CTC has pointed out that the weather had been milder in the first three months of 2012 compared to the same period a year earlier, but said that it was unlikely that an associated rise in the number of people cycling explained the increase in casualties.
On a rolling 12-month basis, there was a 9% rise in all cyclist casualties (19,600 from 17,999) during the year to March 2012, compared to 2011, while the number killed or seriously injured was up by 11% (2,945 from 2,528).
Roger Geffen, CTC's campaigns and policy director, said: “Following Britain’s Olympics successes, there is a wonderful opportunity to encourage more people to cycle, yet people will still be deterred while they continue to hear news of rising numbers of cyclist casualties.”
Meanwhile, further new DfT figures reveal that the number of fatal accidents involving drink drivers on Britain’s roads between January 1 and December 31, 2011, rose by 18% to 260, compared to 220 in 2010.
An accompanying report titled ‘Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2011 provisional estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels’ also revealed that the number of people killed in drink drive accidents increased by 12% to 280 in 2011, from 250 in 2010. It means that 15% of all fatalities in road accidents involved drink driving.
There was a 2% increase (to 6,730 compared to 6,630 in 2010) in the total number of drink drive accidents. The number of casualties involving drink driving rose by 3%, from 9,700 in 2010 to 9,990 in 2011.
The rise in drink drive casualties follows a drop in 2010, when drink drive fatalities were at their lowest in 30 years.
On the rise in fatal drink drive accidents, IAM chief executive Best said: "Any rise in drink drive casualties is worrying, with 15 per cent of all road fatalities involving a drink driver there is clearly more to be done to reduce casualties.
“The problem is many crashes occur the morning after – there needs to be more education on the effects of driving after drinking. A heavy night drinking could leave you over the limit the morning after. The message to all drivers is don’t drink and drive.”