Fifty councils in England saw more than a ten per cent increase in killed and seriously injured (KSI) crash rates between 2010 and 2011, according to IAM analysis of the new road accident figures.
The biggest increases in KSI numbers were in St Helens – 62 per cent, Portsmouth – 57 per cent, Stoke on Trent – 57 per cent, and Coventry – 51 per cent. A further 76 councils saw increases in the KSI rate above the national average of two per cent.
Local councils in England slashed their road safety budgets by 15 per cent (£23 million) last year compared to average spending cuts of just six per cent for other council services.
In London the biggest increase in the number of KSIs was in Croydon where they rose from 87 in 2010 to 109 in 2011, 25 per cent, while the biggest decrease was in Bexley where KSIs decreased from 68 in 2010 to 49 in 2011, down 28 per cent.
Islington overtook Camden to have the highest rate of KSIs per vehicle mile of all the London boroughs, after KSIs rose from 81 to 100.
Overall, the annual number of people killed in road accidents has increased by three per cent, from 1,850 in 2010 to 1,901 in 2011. This is the first increase since 2003. The number of people reported killed or seriously injured has also increased by two per cent to 25,023 from 24,510 in 2010 – the first annual increase since 1994.
Despite the increase in KSIs last year there has been a 23 per cent reduction in deaths and serious injuries on England’s roads over the last five years. The majority of councils have seen significant decreases in the numbers of KSIs over this period. However, fourteen councils have seen increases in the number of KSIs, the biggest being in Southampton, Portsmouth, Reading.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “It is concerning that road deaths and serious injuries rose last year. Road accidents usually drop during an economic recession, so this rise after continuous reductions over the last ten years, is particularly concerning.
“Ministers should take this as a serious warning. Cutting road safety education and reductions in local authority spending all suggest that road safety isn’t a major priority for this government. We need targets on reducing casualties for local councils so that performance can be checked. This would help make sure that councils look at new and innovative ways to save lives on our roads.”