The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has welcomed publication by the Department for Transport of Reported Road Casualties Great Britain, the annual report setting out road casualty statistics. Commenting on the report, Robert Gifford, Executive Director, said: “Earlier this year, we had the welcome news that road deaths had reached an all-time low. This publication confirms those headline figures.
“It is encouraging to see in the report a fall in deaths of 16 per cent year on year among young car occupants. It is also good to see a fall of 71 in the number of fatal crashes involving young car drivers, especially as 65 of these were young drivers themselves. Historically, 17 to 25 year olds have been over-represented in crashes on our roads. At last we seem to be making progress with this age group.
“However, it is important to note that drinking and driving still accounts for 17 per cent of all road deaths. It is also concerning that child cyclist deaths and serious injuries rose 10 per cent in 2009 and serious and slight injuries to all cyclists rose six per cent and five per cent respectively.
“We should also note that these casualty figures are subject to the qualification that not all injuries are reported to the police. As the article in the publication points out, other sources of data suggest that the overall number of casualties may be far higher than those contained in the DfT publication.
“That said, the continuing progress in reducing deaths and injury on our roads comes through consistent action by local and national government, through enforcement of road traffic law and through improvements to vehicle design. As we come to the end of the current road safety strategy, it is vital that the government draws up plans for a new framework and performance outcome for road safety. Failure to do this will suggest that it is reluctant to show leadership on this key issue for our local communities, giving greater priority to cutting the deficit rather than saving lives.”