The department of Transport has released the road casualty statistics for 2009.
There were a total of 222,146 reported casualties of all severities, 4 per cent lower than in 2008. 2,222 people were killed, 12 per cent lower than in 2008, 24,690 were seriously injured (down 5 per cent) and 195,234 were slightly injured (down 4 per cent).
The number of fatalities fell for almost all types of road user, with a fall of 16 per cent for car occupants, 13 per cent for pedestrians, 10 per cent for pedal cyclists and 4 per cent for motorcyclists.
To read the full report click here.
Edmund King, AA President, said:
"We hope that this all-time low in road deaths can be beaten next year but this will be a real challenge given the cuts to public expenditure which have already hit some road safety budgets and led to some local authorities switching off street lights. Questions have to be asked about the size of cuts that will fall on road maintenance, road safety schemes, roads policing and road safety campaigns. If these cuts are made in the wrong places the progress made in recent years may not continue.
“As a society we should not accept that 2,222 should die on our roads. We must continue to invest in engineering, enforcement and education to make our roads safer. Drivers can help by pledging to always wear a seat-belt, never drink or drug drive, never use a mobile and by paying more attention. 'Failed to look' was the most common contributory factor reported in 38% of crashes.”
Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said:
“Once again, Britain’s annual reported road casualty figures show that improving the skills of driver and riders could play a major part in making our roads safer.
“Failing to look properly is not just a benign bad habit – the latest figures show that it is involved in many thousands of accidents on our roads. However, it is a bad habit that can be overcome. We encourage all drivers and riders to look beyond their learner tests and to take refresher training throughout their lives.
“There’s an important message for pedestrians too. Looking properly is as important when you are walking as it is when you are driving, so take care not to be dangerously distracted, whether by mobile phones, listening to music or being caught up in conversations with other people.”
He added: “The long-term trend of the last 20 years has been a massive reduction in road casualties. However, there remain further improvements to make, which is why it is so important to stay focused on road safety, even in a time of spending cuts. As today’s report makes clear, road accidents are extremely costly; when you consider the cost of reported accidents plus the cost of accidents that are not reported to the police, the total value of the prevention of road accidents could be around £33billion.”
Julie Townsend, campaigns director, Brake said:
“Every death on our roads is a tragedy. For every statistic in this report, a family has suffered unimaginably. These deaths are sudden and violent, and yet they are preventable. That’s why we are calling on the Government to take a bold stance, outline what their plans are for tackling this daily carnage, and adopt a long term vision of reducing road deaths to zero.
“In the current economic climate, we should be seizing every opportunity to reduce the huge social and economic burden of road casualties. There is a wealth of evidence that shows the cost benefit ratio of investing in effective road safety measures – and yet the Government currently has neither a strategy nor targets in place for saving lives on our roads.”