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Road deaths and injuries on the rise

By: Dave Robbins
07 February 2017

The recently released provisional figures for the number of deaths and serious injuries on UK roads make for somewhat uncomfortable reading.
Compiled by the Department for Transport (DfT), the figures, for the year ended September 2016, show a 6% year-on-year increase compared to 2015.

Whilst, on the face of it, any increase in road deaths and injuries is unwelcome, it is worth bearing in mind that the figures are allied to an increase in road traffic levels of 1.4%. Also, whilst deaths and serious injuries increased, overall casualties of all severities actually decreased by 4% and the casualty rate per mile travelled decreased by 5%. That does perhaps put the figures into a different perspective.

However a 6% headline increase isn’t good news. The statistics on children killed or seriously injured are particularly worrying – they show an alarming increase of 22%. There was also a 10% increase in deaths and injuries to passengers. Vulnerable road-users aren’t faring well either; there was a 5% increase in motorcyclists killed or seriously injured and a 2% increase for cyclists.

Whilst the DfT commented that the 6% rise was so small “that it can be explained by the natural variations in deaths over time,” the RAC sees the statistics differently. In particular they are concerned about the number of injuries and deaths amongst children. Commenting on this, the RAC’s road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “. . . we need to understand, as a matter of priority, why these increases have occurred and take action to save young lives before more are lost.”

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