The government no longer has casualty reduction targets for our roads and this is something that Brake, the road safety charity, want to see changed. They have called just law week for the government to show ‘strong leadership’ and reintroduce the targets as the Department of Transport has just published its Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain Annual Report for 2014. The report does not make positive reading as it shows an increase in the number of people who died and also an increase in the number of people who were seriously injured.
The Department for Transport report found that 1,775 people died on the roads in 2014, which is a 4% increase on 2013 and the number of people who were seriously injured was 22,807, an increase of 5% on 2013. Casualties in general also rose and as we have discussed with concern before, this is the first time since 1997 that things haven’t continued to decrease.
Brake believes that the government need to look back at the axing of the casualty reduction targets is essential and they believe they should be reinstated, despite them being ambitious. They believe it is the first step needed to fightback against this worrying growth in people being injured and killed on our roads and it will be a chance for the government to stand up and confirm they too believe that the number of deaths on our roads is unacceptable.
Cyclists and Pedestrians Top Injury Figures
As our post last week discussed, the newest figures do not paint a great picture for pedestrians and it’s the same for cyclists too. Pedestrian deaths rose by 12% from 2013 to 2014 and serious injuries to those on bicycles rose by 8%, which is a continuing growth and continues the long term trend of more and more cyclists being injured on our roads.
Traffic levels have also increased since 2013 which is a further concern as air pollution is only going to get worse with increased traffic and Brake cited OECD report The Cost of Air Pollution to show that it is believed to cause as many as 24,000 deaths every year in the UK, and at least half of these can be put down to road transport emissions.
The number of accidents on the roads needs to be decreasing as the human impact is huge and as a company who work with victims of road traffic accidents on a daily basis we see exactly how traumatic and damaging they can be. Having targets give the government and the various bodies involved in protecting people on our roads something to aim for and by removing their ambitious casualty reduction targets the government seems to have created worrying results.