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New figures have shown that the number of car drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians killed on British roads decreased during 2010 – at a time when the number of cyclist casualties increased.
There should have been less road accident personal injury claims during 2010 as DfT figures show that there was an eight per cent year-on-year reduction in serious road injuries compared to 2009. There was also a six per cent reduction in the number of slight injuries sustained by road users.
The DfT figures, which were released on 29th September 2011, reveal that during 2010:
•1,850 people were killed on British roads
•22,660 people were seriously injured
•184,138 people were slightly injured
There were falls in the number of fatalities for all types of road users – a 21 per cent fall in car occupant fatalities; 19 per cent for pedestrians and 15 per cent for motorcyclists.
Commenting on the figures, Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “In 2010, road deaths on Great Britain’s roads fell well below 2,000 for the first time. This is a fantastic achievement.”
But Mr Clinton, while acknowledging that this achievement is partly the result of an increased focus on road safety, also believes that factors such as the economic downturn and heavy winter snowfall has caused a decline in road traffic - resulting in fewer casualties occurring.
He said: “We need to consider how we can ensure that the major reductions in death and injury do not stop or, even worse, start to increase if the economy picks up and we have milder winters.”
The road safety expert also think that the fall in the proportion of young people holding driving licences partly accounts for the 17 per cent year-on-year decrease in young driver deaths.
While the report contains much encouraging data, it was not all good news.
For instance, the number of people killed in accidents in which a driver was using a mobile phone almost doubled (from 15 in 2009 to 28 in 2010). This is despite a legal crackdown on drivers who use mobile phones while on the road.
There was also an increase in the number of HGV occupants who were killed on the road in 2010 (from 14 in 2009 to 28).
Cyclists were another group which bucked the trend of improved road safety – 111 cyclists were killed in 2010; seven per cent more than the previous year.
The number of cyclists who were seriously injured was also up (by two per cent to 2,660).
Roger Geffen, campaign director of the UK’s national cyclists’ association, CTC, is worried that the figures will deter cyclists from taking to the roads – despite the poor weather there was a one per cent increase in cycling traffic at a time when other road traffic decreased by one per cent.
Mr Geffen said: “We still have only a tiny fraction of our residential streets covered by 20mph while hostile roads, bad driving and weak law enforcement remain serious barriers to getting more people cycling.”
By James Christie
[Photo accompanying the article by Alistair McMillan]
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