The Department for Transport released its latest road casualty statistics for Great Britain on 4th August. Many members of the road safety community has expressed their worry at the results. They show no significant downward change. The statistics show the road traffic injuries and deaths in the year to March 2016. There were 1,780 road deaths in this period, unchanged from the same time in 2015.
The report showed figures have increased in some areas too. There has been a 2% rise in the number of people killed or seriously injured on 2015. However, the Department for Transport have been quick to describe this change as ‘statistically insignificant.’
The Department for Transport did however describe the figure for total casualties as significant as it fell by 2% to 187,050. This fall has come despite traffic levels increasing.
There was also more depth provided for each type of road user. There was a 3% decrease in cyclists killed or seriously injured but a 2% increase amongst pedestrians and an even higher increase among car occupants, of 5%.
No Drink-Drive Death Reduction
Drink driving figures show no reduction in drink-drive related deaths since 2010. There are still 240 deaths a year. Many leading road safety organisations are one again pushing for change in drink-drive limits because of these results.
Casualty Reporting Delays
There was also an issue for the Department of Transport with the collection of accident data. The government revealed that seven police forces including both the Metropolitan and Greater Manchester forces did not submit their casualty reports in time. This means the latest figures include estimates for the first quarter of 2016.
The Road Safety Industry Responds
Speaking on behalf of PACTS, Executive Director David Davies commented: “The Government is failing in its manifesto commitment to reduce the number of road users killed or seriously injured every year. There has been very little reduction in these figures since 2010. The number of deaths involving drink driving is stuck at 240 a year and the estimated total deaths in the past 12 months is only lightly lower than it was five years ago.”
Supporting the same message, GEM Motoring Assist Information Officer Neil Worth also said: “The government made a manifesto commitment to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the UK’s roads every year.
“However, there has been almost no reduction for the past six years. In particular, there has been no reduction in deaths involving drink-driving during that time – a clear sign that we need new initiatives in the field of drink-drive education, as well as wider enforcement of drink-drive laws.
“This once again demonstrates the grave mistake made in permitting such a big reduction in the numbers of road policing officers over these past six years.”
Both these organisations and other road safety charities and related bodies are committed pushing for changes to bring down figures. These changes include:
- Improved drink-drive education
- Additional support from the drink industry to promote alcohol-free drinks as well as named driver campaigns
- Improved enforcement by police forces
- A lower drink drive limit for England and Wales
- A full analysis of the lower alcohol limit in Scotland
- A full overhaul of the current provision of drink drive rehabilitation courses
These steps are just some of the necessary changes needed to make our roads safer. The government needs to consider them all for improved figures in the next report.