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UK road deaths drop 16% during pandemic year

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UK road deaths dropped for the first time in eight years during 2020 as the coronavirus saw a significant reduction in traffic levels.

Figures from the Department for Transport show there were 1,472 reported road deaths in 2020, compared to 1,748 in 2019.

Road safety charity IAM RoadSmart is campaigning for the Government to demonstrate "real leadership" to build on the lockdown reductions in death and injury on UK roads.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart’s Director of Policy & Research, said: “These results are not unexpected. The reductions in deaths and serious injuries on roads are obviously related to the global pandemic and resulting Lockdowns. We need UK Government to show real leadership and push road safety up the political agenda if we are to see real, sustainable return of year-on-year improvements.

“While the reduction in deaths comes after 8 years of flat lining with no improvement in Britain’s road safety performance it means we are now bottom of the international league for rate of improvement. However, 2020 presents an opportunity for the Government to get its new road safety strategy in place and ‘build back safer’ for all road users.”

The Government report highlights an estimated 23,486 killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties in 2020, a decrease of 22% compared to the same period in 2019.

Total casualties fell by 25% to 115,333, when compared to 2019.

These drops broadly align with total road traffic during the period decreasing by 21%.

Pedal cyclist casualty rates saw the greatest percentage decrease (34%) compared to all other road user types, but this was due to disproportionate increase in the number of people cycling.

The actual numbers of cyclists killed went up by 40% (100 were killed in 2019 and 140 in 2020).

Transport for London (TfL) published its own data, showing the number of people killed or seriously injured on London's roads fell by 21% over the year compared to 2019 data. Despite the decreases, 96 people were killed and 2,974 suffered serious injuries on the Capital’s roads during 2020.

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