28 June 2012
Road deaths rise – a wake-up call to all engaged in road safety
Road death figures for 2011, announced today show a rise from the 1,850 recorded in 2010 to 1901 – a three per cent rise, and the first since 2003.
Deaths and serious injuries have also risen by 2%.
Particularly worrying are the 12 per cent rise in pedestrian deaths and the 16 per cent rise in cycle serious injuries.
The reduction from 2,222 in 2009 to 1,850 in 2010 was huge and unexpected and may have owed much to the weather in January and December 2010 which kept many people off the road.
Additionally other 'safe' countries have also encountered a similar trend in deaths with Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands all showing increases in 2011.
But this does not account for all of the rise in a country where there is a general expectation that deaths and injuries will fall as they have in 16 of the last 20 years.
Traffic levels are constant, while petrol consumption – another good indicator of car use - has declined by 4.6%. This, coupled with steady improvements in car safety should also have pushed death and injury down.
we also have to suspect that the price of fuel throughout 2011 is all that has prevented road casualties for 2011 being much, much higher than in 2010
Andrew Howard, head of road safety
This is a real wake-up call to all those engaged in and responsible for helping make our roads, drivers, cars and communities safe. At a time of austerity we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball when it comes to saving more lives on Britain’s roads.
AA Head of Road Safety Andrew Howard says: "It may well be that the weather in 2010 did make that year's figures look good. But we also have to suspect that the price of fuel throughout 2011 is all that has prevented road casualties for 2011 being much, much higher than in 2010."
The government must take this into account in deciding the resources to devote to road safety and must not allow complacency to set in.
The rise in pedestrian deaths and cycle casualties continues to be a major cause for concern. We all need to do more to reduce road deaths and should aim for 5 star drivers, in 5 star cars on 5 star roads.
(28 June 2012)