I was disappointed to hear that the number of people killed or seriously injured on British roads rose by 3% in 2011. It is the first rise since 2003.
More worrying still is the fact that the numbers of pedestrians killed and cyclists seriously injured have also risen – by 12% and 16% respectively.
The figures, published by the Department for Transport, reveal:
- There was a 3% rise in the number of people killed on British roads – up from 1,850 in 2010 to 1,901 in 2011.
- The number of people reported killed or seriously injured has also increased – up by 2% to 25,023. This is the first annual increase since 1994.
- The total number of casualties (slight injuries, serious injuries and fatalities) continued to fall – dropping 2% from 208,648 in 2010 to 203,950 in 2011.
- Total reported child casualties (ages 0 – 15) also fell – dropping 0.5% to 19,474.
- The number of pedestrians killed on the roads in 2011 increased by 12%, rising from 405 in 2010 to 453 in 2011.
- Serious injuries for cyclists rose 16%, from 2,660 in 2010 to 3,085 in 2011, while the number of fatalities dropped by 4%, from 111 deaths in 2010 to 107 in 2011.
Road safety campaigners described the figures as a wake-up call.
“This is the first time that deaths have risen since 2003 and serious injuries since 1994,” said Robert Gifford, Executive Director of PACTS (the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety). “They also occur at a time of no change in terms of the amount of traffic. For deaths to begin to rise at a time of recession should be a matter of concern to the government.”
He called on the Government to enter a genuine dialogue with the profession about a vision for road safety for the next decade.
According to road safety charity Brake, the Government should reinstate national casualty reduction targets, which were abandoned last year, and take action on priority areas to bring road casualties down.
“We need to see greater ambition on bringing casualties down and making our communities safer places,” warned Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive. “We need decisive policies on young driver safety and drink driving, and we need investment in measures to protect people on foot and bicycle – which can bring about health, environmental and economic benefits, as well as tackling needless suffering.”