For the first time the Government has estimated the total cost of road deaths and injuries to the economy, taking into account under-reporting of injuries by police and using other data sources. This estimate has put the total cost to the economy of all road crashes in Great Britain in 2009 at £33 billion, with each road death costing £1.6 million. The previous estimate from 2008 stood at £17.9 billion but this failed to take into account under-reporting.
These costs include: costs to theNHS and emergency services; costs to the police from investigating the crash and bringing cases to court; costs to individuals through higher insurance rates; costs from lost worker productivity; human costs; and damage to property.
Government targets for reducing road deaths and serious injuries only run to 2010 and no new targets have been set by the Coalition Government. Instead, the new Government has dramatically cut road safety spending, with no indication of when a road safety strategy and targets will be introduced.
Brake is calling on the Government to act urgently to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our roads, by setting challenging targets and outlining a bold strategy to 2020.
Julie Townsend, campaigns director, 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.”