How drive-safe are our university locations?


Our latest infographic reveals how drive-safe our university locations are and how the drive-safety of these locations has changed over the past decade. It shows which locations have seen the highest and lowest reductions in their KSI (killed or seriously injured) rates. It also looks at the common causes of crashes for motorists and what these statistics mean for young drivers and their insurance premiums.


Some road-safety campaigners believe that the discrepancy between the reductions in KSI rates has led to the creation of a ‘postcode lottery’ for drivers. Here we look at how these discrepancies affect how drive-safe our university locations are. Below we detail which of our university locations are the safest to drive in and which ones have seen the largest improvements in their drive safety


Which are the safest university locations to drive in?

Across England, Scotland and Wales, the data provided by the Department for Transport revealed that Cardiff was the UK’s safest university location to drive in, followed by Staffordshire and Bristol. Plymouth, Glasgow, Dundee and Newcastle also made the list, with Swansea, Edinburgh and York completing the top 10

Location Number of road casualties % by local authority population
Cardiff 64 0.02%
Staffordshire 165 0.02%
Bristol 106 0.02%
Plymouth 64 0.02%
Glasgow 153 0.03%


As far as regionality is concerned, it doesn’t appear that one region is particularly safer than any others. Wales has two places in the top 10, with Scotland containing three. Newcastle and York represent the north of England, while the south contains the remaining locations.

In Scotland, however, it is noticeable from the infographic that there is a band of red locations which have a high proportion of reported road casualties as a percentage of the population. This is probably due to the high volume of national speed limit roads in the rural regions, which will likely be dangerous and icy during the winter months.

Of the safest university locations to drive in, it’s noticeable that many of them are large towns and cities, with city centres and residential zones that contain low speed limits. Recently, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has been researching the effects that these lower speed limits have on reducing accident rates and fatalities, with promising results on how they are preventing deaths, particularly among children.

How have these rates changed in the past decade?

In 2012, the government decided to ‘name and shame’ councils that had failed to reduce the KSI rates on their roads. The data shows that they differ vastly across the country, including large differences between councils that have similar backgrounds and budgets.

The statistics reveal that Halton, Cheshire has seen the largest decrease in KSI incidents according to Department for Transport data. Of the ‘shamed’ areas, Doncaster came out worst with a 0% reduction, closely followed by Bournemouth (3%), Redcar & Cleveland (8%) and Brighton & Hove (11%).

The statistics generally show that since 1994, there has been a large variation in how local authorities have improved their road safety. There are, therefore, some examples of ‘good practice’, such as Halton (70% reduction), Coventry (66% reduction) and Telford & Wrekin (65% reduction).

It is believed that one essential factor in cutting the death rate on the country’s roads is the presence of a police force on the roads, rather than a reliance on speed cameras. This is because they can deter drunk, drugged, distracted and dangerous drivers from taking to the roads, as well as monitoring speed.

What is causing accidents?

Drivers not looking properly is causing almost 30% of all accidents, according to Department for Transport data, and was cited as the cause for 48,038 accidents last year.

In an attempt to counter this and reduce the number of incidents, several campaigns have been launched which demonstrate the importance of good observations from drivers, particularly in relation to looking for bikes and motorcycles.

The charity THINK have launched a national campaign which has received a number of hours of air time on terrestrial television, as well as many shares on Facebook and other social media platforms. You can watch their video here:

What about insurance costs?

The cost of car insurance for younger drivers has generally come down substantially. Between Q1 2014 and Q1 2015, the price of insurance for someone aged between 17 and 22 reduced by 6.4%. It came down even further for those aged between 23 and 29, with a 9.3% reduction.

Costs for younger drivers are likely falling because there are fewer fraudulent claims and because many are opting for ‘black box’ insurance policies which reward good driving.

Overall, car insurance costs only rose between Q1 2014 and Q1 2015 for those over the age of 60. Those aged 60 to 69 saw their car insurance costs rise by 1%, while those aged over 70 saw them rise by 4.9%.

Are you or a member of your family heading to university this autumn? How highly does a location’s road safety feature on your list of criteria when considering universities?

Take a look at our infographic for a full breakdown of the data



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