Call for action as road death reduction '˜stalls'
The Government has been urged to do more to address road safety after a charity said the latest figures on deaths showed a risk of stagnation, despite a slight drop.
Department for Transport (DfT) figures show that fatalities on the UK’s roads fell by three per cent in 2015, making it the second lowest annual total on record.
The total of 1,730 deaths is a 45 per cent reduction on the figures from a decade earlier.
However, the DfT itself described the number of deaths as ‘fairly stable’ and said that since around 2011 there has been no clear trend in the number of fatalities, with changes explained by ‘natural variation’.
Of those deaths, 44 per cent were car occupants, pedestrians accounted for 24 per cent, motorcyclists 21 per cent and pedal cyclists 6 per cent. Motorcyclists were the only group to suffer an increase in deaths, with eight per cent more killed in 2015 than in 2014.
Road safety charity Brake welcomed the drop in fatalities but said that the reductions were beginning to stall and called for more action from Government to avoid ‘stagnation’.
Lucy Amos, research advisor for Brake, said: “The report reveals the danger of complacency and overconfidence. The UK currently has one of the best road safety records in the world, but this cannot be relied upon.
“No road death is acceptable and we must continue to work towards reducing death and injury on the roads without compromise.
“The population and vehicle traffic levels have been steadily increasing in recent years.
“Action must be taken now to prevent numbers from overwhelming safety measures.
“This is why Brake is calling for the reintroduction of ambitious casualty reduction targets to act as a driving force for the fight against road death and injury at the national level; increased investment in road infrastructure to develop a safe and sustainable road network; and more resources assigned to road traffic police to ensure that legislation can be effectively enforced.”
The Dft figures showed that while most non-fatal incidents occurred on ‘built-up’ roads - those with speed limits of 40mph or less - most fatalities (51 per cent) occurred on faster out-of-town roads while only 6 per cent occurred on motorways.
The statistics also show that only three European countries have better road safety records than the UK - Sweden, Malta and Norway.
Across the country serious injuries also fell by 3 per cent year on year to 22,144 and the total number of casualties was down 4 per cent to 186,189, figures which the DfT says show a statistically significant reduction in non-fatal injuries from road accidents.