Road deaths have fallen to the lowest figure since records began more than 80 years ago.
New figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) reveal that the number of people killed on Britain’s roads fell by 7% last year, from 3,172 in 2006 to 2,943 in 2007.
Despite indications that the level of traffic rose last year, the number deaths among vulnerable road users, including children, cyclists and pedestrians, fell across the board.
In 2007 car driver and passenger fatalities dropped by 11% on the previous year and the number of seriously injured and other casualties also dropped markedly, by 9% and 6% respectively.
However, the DfT did not provide a purpose of journey breakdown, which would help identify how many people died while driving for work.
The rate of road deaths has been dropping year-on-year, however the 2007 figures, with 229 fewer deaths than 2006, shows the greatest improvement in recent years.
Sheila Rainger deputy director of the RAC Foundation said: “To measure falls in road deaths in hundreds rather than tens is wonderful news and a great achievement.”
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) also welcomed the news.
Head of road safety Kevin Clinton said: “The progress that has been made is a tribute to road safety professionals and shows the value of having long-term, government-led road safety strategies.”
Both organisations warned against complacency and advocated ongoing driver training better and communication among road users.
Dr Will Murray research director at Interactive Driving Systems said: “Road fatalities going down to under 3,000 is a major milestone – you can’t argue that it’s a major improvement but at the same time there are still thousands dying on the roads.
“From a fleet point of view there is still room for improvement,” he said.
“In hard times people are looking for ways to cut costs and often safety provision is one of the things to go first.
“The fleet industry should not become complacent. It’s easy to look at these results and say ‘road safety is improving, why do we need to focus on this?’ but we need to keep the onus up on driver safety and training.”