Latest road accident statistics

Decline in road deaths but injuries have been under-reported

24 September 2009

The AA is delighted to see the decline in reported road death figures released today, and Britain's return to joint top of the international road safety league table.


"The suggestion that the real number of people injured on the road could be over three times the number recorded shows the enormity of the road safety problem, even at a time when deaths are reducing significantly" says AA President Edmund King.

"Modern techniques may allow improvements in collecting data in the future, but arguments about the true size of the injury problem should not hide road death figures down to one third of those in 1966, and half those in 1990".

"The death figures continue to show high levels relating to drink driving, motorcycling, young drivers and distraction. We also need more information on the true scale of the drug driving problem", King continues.

Accuracy of reporting

The Department for Transport summary of the report includes the following comments on the accuracy of reporting:

Comparisons with death registrations show that very few, if any; road accident fatalities are not reported to the police. It has long been known that a considerable proportion of non-fatal casualties are not known to the police and hospital, survey and compensation claims data all indicate a higher number of casualties than are reported.

Our (DfT) best current estimate, derived from survey data with cross-checking against other data sources, is that the total number of road casualties in Great Britain each year, including those not reported to police, is within the range 680,000 to 920,000 with a central estimate of 800,000.

Police data on road accidents (STATS19), whilst not perfect, remains the most detailed, complete and reliable single source of information on road casualties covering the whole of Great Britain, in particular for monitoring trends over time. However, both hospital and survey data are likely to provide further useful evidence on trends in the future.

The published statistics show:

There were a total of 230,905 reported casualties of all severities, 7 per cent lower than in 2007.

  • 2,538 people were killed, 14 per cent lower than in 2007
  • 26,034 were seriously injured (down 6 per cent), and
  • 202,333 were slightly injured (down 7 per cent)

The number of fatalities fell for almost all types of road user, with a fall of 12 per cent for car occupants, 11 per cent for pedestrians, 16 per cent for motorcyclists and 15 per cent for pedal cyclists.

Reported Road Casualties GB:2008 »

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24 September 2009