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Road Safety since 2010 report published

21 September 2015

The PACTS/RAC Foundation report Road safety since 2010 (updated with the 2014 casualty data) has been published today in anticipation of the DfT road casualty data to be released on Thursday.

One of the key messages is that the casualty reduction since 2010 (in 2011-2014) has slowed considerably and UK KSI casualties increased in 2011 and 2014. However, the trends are not uniform across the UK: London, Scotland and NI have achieved much higher casualty reductions than the rest of England and Wales.

It highlights how despite the general downward trend in death and injury on the roads over the past five years, progress has varied dramatically across the UK.

The report calls on the government to consider the evidence in the report and to develop an ambitious road safety strategy for the next five years.

New casualty reduction targets need to be introduced if the recent increase in people being hurt on the roads is not to be repeated.

The government figures to be released on Thursday will show that last year in Great Britain 1,775 people died on the roads (a 4% increase on the year before). 22,807 more were seriously injured (a 5% annual increase).

While today’s casualty figures are still significantly below those seen when the coalition government came to power, much of the reduction came in 2010, the general election year, and the 2014 rise is the second in the last four years.

The figures come against a backdrop of reduced spending on road safety at local level and a concern that the lack of a national target has led to a lack of focus and loss of impetus particularly in England.

A survey of 34 English local authorities found that when it came to road safety:

  • 85% thought the changes in resources and capacity since 2010 had had a negative impact
  • 76% thought the changes in national leadership and strategy were detrimental
  • 60% rated progress in road safety overall as poor

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Because of a lack of central focus, and faced with swingeing budget cuts, English councils have not prioritised road safety and have seen a lot of experienced staff leave.

“We also need to see more systematic sharing of best practice. Why has Scotland managed to achieve a decline of nearly a third in those killed or seriously hurt on the roads over the past five years while Wales has only managed a fifth of that?

“Cars have become much safer, but this has predominantly benefitted car occupants and today half of fatalities are amongst vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

“We should be proud of our long-term road safety record, but new impetus is needed to protect it. It was a Conservative transport minister who set a challenging casualty reduction target in 1987. We hope today’s Conservative government will be persuaded to follow the same successful path.”

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