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Radical change needed to reverse road death rise

Road safety campaigners are calling for Government action after there were 1,775 reported road deaths in 2014, an increase of 4% compared with 2013.

Pedestrians accounted for three quarters of the increase in fatalities between 2013 and 2014. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 12% from 398 in 2013 to 446 in 2014.

The number of people seriously injured in reported road traffic accidents increased by 5% to 22,807 in 2014, compared with 2013, and there was a total of 194,477 casualties of all severities in reported road traffic accidents during 2014, the first increase in overall casualties since 1997.

Meanwhile, a total of 146,322 personal-injury road traffic accidents were reported to the police in 2014. Of these accidents, 1,658 resulted in at least one fatality.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is urging the Government to take radical steps to reverse this increase before it becomes a trend and address the decline in the numbers of police traffic officers.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “These figures are greatly concerning and show the time for action is now.

“We are clear on what needs to happen. We call again for road safety targets to be reintroduced – they are the only clear way of ensuring reductions are measured and achieved.

“There also must be a greater focus on driver and rider quality and incentives for companies and individuals to continuously develop their skills.” 

The increase was set against the backdrop of vehicle traffic levels increasing by 2.4% between 2013 and 2014.

With the exception of 2010 to 2011, which was affected by severe weather, 2014 is the first rise in fatalities over the calendar year since 2003. It is also the first rise in seriously injured casualties since 1994.

Further analysis of the figures reveals that the number of car occupants killed rose by 1.5% compared with 2013, reaching 797 deaths in 2014.

The Department for Transport (DfT) says it is unlikely that this change of 12 deaths is statistically significant and the increase is likely to have come about by chance.

A total of 8,035 car occupants were seriously injured in reported road accidents. This represents an increase of 5.2% from the 2013 level.

An increase of this magnitude is likely to be statistical significant, suggesting that the change is as a result of genuine differences in safety and risk between 2013 and 2014.

Nevertheless, 2014 still represents the second lowest year on record, at 2.4% below the 2012 figure.

Overall car occupant casualties also increased by 5.2% to 115,530 in 2014. As with seriously injured casualties, this is the second lowest year on record, and the change is large enough to probably be statistically significant.

Cyclists also still account for a disproportionately high number of casualties, with 113 killed in 2014. Worryingly, there was a huge rise in the number of cyclists being seriously injured, from 3,143 to a total of 3,401. This number has been increasing almost every year since 2004.

Motorcyclist deaths rose by 2% from 331 in 2013 to 339 in 2014, and there was an increase of more than 400 who were seriously injured, taking the number to 5,628 in 2014, a rise of 9%. Overall motorcyclist casualties increased from 18,752 to 20,366, an increase of 9%.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) says more needs to be done to protect vulnerable road users after new figures revealed a rise in the number of deaths on Britain's roads.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at RoSPA, said: "The reductions in road death and injury in recent years will not automatically be sustained, without a continued focus on road safety.

“We must remain focussed on making our roads safer for everyone, and especially for people travelling on foot and by two wheels.”

Last week, reported road casualties in Scotland for 2014 showed a total of 11,240 road casualties and 200 fatalities - 6% more than 2013

RAC chief engineer David Bizley concluded: “It does appear that the days of annual reductions in road casualties are well and truly over.

“National efforts to tackle road safety appear to be stalling, after decades of progress in the reducing the numbers killed or injured on the roads.

“A new national strategy on road safety cannot come soon enough. These figures serve to highlight just how pressing the need is for road safety to be given the political focus it clearly so desperately needs.”

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  • Dave - 26/06/2015 13:45

    It would be interesting to know what the proportion of deaths is against the number of drivers or vehicles on the road to see if more drivers/vehicles has an impact on the figures.

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    • Gareth Roberts - 26/06/2015 14:10

      What we do know is that vehicle traffic levels increased by 2.4% between 2013 and 2014, which compares to the 4% year-on-year rise in deaths.

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  • mark edgecombe - 28/06/2015 06:27

    Think Amy is a registered charity which promotes safe driving. It was first set up as a safe driving campaign by Jane Hofmeister after her 13 year old daughter Amy was killed in June 2011 in Taunton, Somerset whilst cycling on a cycle path in broad daylight. The driver of the car that killed Amy had been racing another at motorway speeds along a residential road. He overtook the car he was racing, lost control on a bend and struck the kerb flipping the car into the air which hit Amy, killing her instantly. Think Amy has been operating as a safe driving campaign since 2011. In April 2014 it was successfully registered as a charity with a new body of trustees. In its first year as a charity, a priority for the trustees was to develop a 3-year Strategic Plan, to set out a clear strategic direction for the charity. The trustees’ strategic vision is to make Think Amy "the" campaign for safe driving across the UK; to make the term ‘Think Amy’ synonymous with safe driving. Remember, Drive Safely, Think Amy! The trustees want to remind drivers that their driving style is a choice they make themselves – the driver alone has the power and the choice to drive safely. We want Think Amy to influence that choice. You stated that “A new national strategy on road safety cannot come soon enough" We believe that together with the support of the motor industry we can make a hugely positive difference. Remember, Drive safely, Think Amy!

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  • Bob P - 30/06/2015 20:09

    Reading the other comments being self employed I require my phone whilst I am driving like a lot of other people . I am a non smoker but if I did I can drive along open a packet of cigarettes. Pop one in my mouth push in a cigarette lighter then light it then continually. Take it in and out of my mouth so only have one hand on the steering wheel then when I am finished throw it out of the window and in this dry climate set the verge alight and if I was a 20 fags a day man my concentration must be less than me speaking to a client regarding business but looking at it the revenue from cigarettes. Is a good earner for the government so banning smoking in vehicles will never happen if it did then perhaps the NHS would not be under so much pressure regarding smoking related diseases

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  • Clive Durdle - 11/07/2015 13:52

    Why the concentration on deaths and serious incidents? My understanding of health and safety is that near misses are the warning canary in the mine here. How can one look at certain incidents that lead to deaths and assert they are not statistically significant? All incidents and near misses matter! I know this is about slips trips and falls in the workplace, but the proactive principles apply on the road don't they? I don't understand the emphasis on reactive road safety, isn't the first thing to do is design and engineer out risk and hazards? "More: Near-miss reporting A simple, and potentially anonymous, system for reporting near-miss incidents is a very important way of identifying problem areas. This will help you highlight some of the less obvious hazards in a workplace, or identify areas where a problem is developing. Some models suggest that for every accident there are approximately ninety near-misses. If there is a good reporting system in place, the hazard could be dealt with before someone is injured. It can be difficult to get staff to report near-misses or minor slip accidents, as they are often seen as funny or embarrassing occurrences (until someone is hurt). It is important to create a culture which encourages reporting of these accidents." http://www.hse.gov.uk/SLIPS/step/general/advanced/8E7F777B-3B84-49FE-A3D6-D0324E25A801/HSLCourseTemplate/28531/slidetype2_174026.htm

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  • Clive Durdle - 11/07/2015 14:19

    And maybe the radical action needed is to think things through from first principles, like why is the journey being made using those tools and what happens about storage at the end of the journey? https://server1.tepper.cmu.edu/CMUPark/The-High-Cost-of-Free-Parking.pdf This is about a very significant factor that is often forgotten in logistics. "The High Cost of Free Parking By Donald Shoup Summarized by Tri-State Transportation Campaign 350 W 31st Street, New York, NY 10001 p: (212) 268-7474 f: (212) 268-7333 www.tstc.org The matter of parking is largely taken for granted, until you’re circling the block looking for that elusive space. Even for many transportation professionals and urban planners, parking tends to be little more than an afterthought. But a major new treatise by UCLA professor Donald Shoup makes a strong case for more attention to parking. Shoup determines that in the United States, off-street parking consumes an area roughly the size of Connecticut. If global car ownership rates catch up with those in the U.S., and assuming just one off-street space per car, an area the size of England would need to be paved to house the world’s car fleet (during the 95 percent of the day when it’s not on the road). Shoup contends that many of the woes associated with America’s car culture can be linked directly to the lack of rational attention to parking. More specifically, he argues that the oversupply of free parking (he estimates 99 percent of parking in the U.S. is free) is an enormous public subsidy that makes driving less expensive than it should be, further skewing travel choices. In fact, transportation suffers from the same “tragedy of the commons” relative to parking observed with regard to fisheries and other free and un-owned resources. Zoning requirements for overly-abundant off-street parking and failure to charge appropriately for curb parking result in extra air pollution, higher oil consumption, traffic congestion, and sprawl. Less obviously, parking requirements increase the cost of housing, as well as goods and services. For urban areas, Shoup summarizes these effects quoting Mumford: “The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle, is actually the right to destroy the city.” https://server1.tepper.cmu.edu/CMUPark/The-High-Cost-of-Free-Parking.pdf Similar conclusions are here. https://www.itdp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Europes_Parking_U-Turn_ITDP.pdf So to be radical Is every journey necessary? Is the operator of the transportation device competent - do not pass driving test without also passing IAM? Regular "MOT's" of drivers competence and skills Pricing parking properly so that the right decisions about the logistics of getting from A to B are made. Not just dedicated funding for the strategic highways network, that includes a motorway tunnel across the Pennines, but proper spending and thinking about local infrastructure.

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