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UK Roads amongst the World’s Safest

September 25, 2016

A new report published by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) shows that Great Britain almost always ranks amongst the world’s countries with the lowest road death rates. This appears positive but their report goes onto show areas where UK roads are not quite as safe as they initially appear.

Released on 21st September in conjunction with Project Edward, Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of Britain’s road safety performance was researched by the TRL, commissioned by PACTs and funded by The Department for Transport. It has been handily converted into this graphic to summarise its main points.

For the past ten years Britain has been second only to Malta in the league table for the safest countries when looking at road casualties and deaths. Britain has fewer vehicle occupant deaths per head of population than other nations, although other high performing countries in Europe include the Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden.

UK roads

Vulnerable Road User Deaths still High

Not all of the statistics for the UK are positive. The report highlights several areas where Britain does not perform as well. Firstly, UK has a higher level of vulnerable road user deaths per head of population, compared to other countries. Vulnerable road users in this instance include pedestrians and motorcyclists mainly. This information is particularly worrying when there is no evidence of higher levels of vulnerable road user activity. The UK also has a higher ratio of 18 to 24-year-old road user deaths compared with other age groups. This could be due to the lower driving age limit in the UK.

When looking at the road user death levels on different types of road, the UK has a higher proportion of deaths on roads with speed limits of 60mph or more. There are also more deaths per unit length of motorway.

Looking at NCAP the UK does not have a great record either. It has lower Euro NCAP safety ratings for new cars and also poor Euro NCAP pedestrian protection scores. The UK’s score are only 19th in the table of 28 European countries.

A Number Of Areas Where The UK Could Do Better

Discussing the findings, Executive Director of PACTS David Davies commented:

“This report by leading transport safety consultants TRL shows that, over the past ten years, the UK has been second to Malta in the league table of fewest deaths per head of population. However, deaths among pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are noticeably greater in UK.

“The report highlights a number of areas where the UK could do better. Perhaps surprisingly, new cars in the UK have, on average, lower safety ratings than cars in other top performing countries. More worrying is that the average pedestrian protection rating for new cars is 19th out of 28 European countries.

“The Government needs to promote cars that are low on emissions and high on safety, including pedestrian protection. PACTS urges the public and private sectors to buy only the safest vehicles – those with a 5* safety rating.”

This new report gives the government more proof of the need to make changes. The UK can be proud of its position on road safety in some areas. However, there is more to do in others.

photo credit: 122/366 Zoom Zoom via photopin (license)