Road safety charities IAM RoadSmart and Brake have called for action to be taken after the number of people killed or seriously injured on UK roads has stagnated, according to latest Government figures.
The Department for Transport yesterday announced that there were 1,793 reported road deaths in 2017, an increase of one compared to 2016. This is the highest annual total since 2011.
A total of 24,831 people were seriously injured last year, 3% more than in 2016 (24,101), which has been attributed by the Government at least in part due to changes in the way many police forces now report collision data.
The figures also reveal that motorcyclists now make up 19% of all road deaths in Britain, up 9% on 2016 to 349 deaths, and pedestrian fatalities increased by 5% to 470.
Among the action the two charities want are greater focus on driver training and quality, as well as the reintroduction of national road casualty reduction targets.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Although the number of casualties of all severities in reported road traffic accidents in 2017 is 6% lower than in 2016 and is the lowest level on record, the number of fatalities has increased, albeit by just one.
“We appear to have reached a hard core of human behaviour related crashes that requires much more focus on driver training and quality if we are to make progress towards a long-term vision of zero deaths on our roads.
“Road safety in the UK seems to be bumping along the floor with yet another year without real improvement in key fatal injury statistics.
“With seven years without progress, it is clear that working in partnership to promote it is the key to returning to long-term downward trends.
“More incentives for post-test training, consistent enforcement of new motoring laws, accelerating the uptake of AEB (autonomous emergency braking) equipped cars and promoting good practice in driving for work are just a few examples of the quick gains that could be achieved.”
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, added: “These figures highlight the shocking lack of progress on road safety improvement in Britain.
“This stagnation must be arrested and yet the Government sits on its hands and rejects the introduction of policies which are proven to save lives – for the individuals, families and whole communities devastated by road crashes, this is simply not good enough.
“Casualty reduction targets are a proven catalyst for road safety improvement and yet, since 2010, the UK Government has rejected this approach.
“With the UK’s deterioration in road safety showing no signs of abating, we urge the introduction of national road casualty reduction targets as a priority.
“The Government must have its feet held to the fire on road safety.”