Fleet News

Caution after road deaths fall by 12%

The number of people killed on Britain’s roads has fallen by 12% from 2,538 to 2,222 in 2009, with experts suggesting more than 550 were killed while driving for work.

Just under half of all fatalities were car occupants, 23% were pedestrians and a further 21% motorcyclists.

However, while the number of deaths among car users in 2009 was 1,059, 16% less than in the previous year, the reduction has been welcomed with a degree of caution.

The figures come in the wake of growing concerns from road safety organisations about potential Government cuts.

“We need a bold strategy that spells out the importance of investing in road safety, despite government cuts,” said Ellen Booth, campaigns officer for Brake, the road safety charity.

The Department for Transport has announced a 27% cut in road safety revenue funding and a £17.2m cut in capital grants for road safety.

But every death on UK roads costs £1.68m, according to Neil Greig, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) director of policy and research.

“The impact of casualty reduction targets has been enormous,” explained Greig. “However, punitive cuts in road safety budgets will jeopardise these huge financial and social gains.”

Meanwhile, Europe’s transport ministers have met in Brussels to discuss work-related road safety against a backdrop of an estimated 39% of fatal work accidents in the EU-15 countries occurring on the road.

The EU is due to unveil a new European Action Programme for the period 2010 to 2020 in July and the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) is calling on transport ministers to consider the need for new targets and measures that address driving for work and commuting to and from work.

It says the European Commission should integrate measures focussing on reducing death and injury whilst driving for work in the next Community Health and Safety at Work Strategy due in 2013, as well as the next Road Safety Action Programme.

In addition, it says the EU should ensure that employers are improving health and safety of workers by including the risk of using a vehicle for work, both on-site and off-site, as part of their work risk assessments.

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  • Edward Handley - 13/07/2010 17:02

    The relatively large fall in the number of road deaths is very good news and shows that the effort put into road safety by companies, employers and the public sector is well worthwhile. There is no room for complacency though as the number of work related road deaths is still a very significant proportion of the total. There will be a very strong temptation to cut investment in road safety, by both government and commercial organisations in the current scramble to be seem to be "saving" money, and there is a great danger in creating an "I'm thriftier than thou" attitude if saving some cash now results in an increase in collisions and fatalities later. There is plenty of evidence to show that cuts can quickly increase the number of collisions and the eventual cost of these collisions will inevitably be far greater than any saving achieved. Road safety gives a very good return on investment and it is important never to lose sight of that, especially when there's an axe man about. The one thing no one needs is an axe murderer lose on our roads, especially one who is convinced himself he is doing it for our own good!

  • autoalert - 13/07/2010 20:56

    Although good to see accidents falling, how much of this was due to the massive drop in the number of vehicles travelling on british roads in 2009? I think congestion was done 40% in 2009

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