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Road deaths decrease but fatalities on motorways rise

Published today (25th September), the Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2013 (RRCGB) Annual Report shows a decrease in road deaths by 2% compared with 2012. This is the lowest figure since national records began in 1926.

Meanwhile the number of people seriously injured decreased by 6% to 21,657 compared to 2012 and the total number of casualties in road accidents reported to the police in 2013 was 183,670, down 6% from 2012 total. Also positive was the news that pedal cyclists’ deaths decreased by 8% to 109 in 2013, compared to 118 in 2012.

However, fatalities on motorways increased by 14% from 88 to 100 whilst vans and LGVs fatalities increased by 12% from 33 to 37. In addition motorcycle fatalities on motorways increased by 250% from 4 to 14, child pedestrian fatalities increased by 30% from 20 to 26 and killed and serious injuries for all road users in deprived areas increased by 5%.

IAM director of policy of research Neil Greig said: ‘It’s worrying that motorways have seen an increase in deaths, which is only partly explained by the increase in traffic on them – it is vital the government keeps a close eye on these figures as the Highway Agency rolls out its programme of wide-spread hard-shoulder running as opposed to proper motorway widening.

‘The problem of death and serious injury among motorcycle riders remains and we want to see more use of training opportunities and partnerships to improve both skills and attitudes.

‘Driver error was once again the top cause of crashes and the IAM believe that its courses can help reduce this figure but we need the partnership of the insurance industry and the government to help us deliver better drivers and riders.’

Meanwhile David Richards of AA DriveTech added: 'It is good news for everyone who uses our roads that road deaths and injuries have continued to fall. Besides highlighting the pleasing improvements in collision statistics, these annual statistics provide vital information to all those in the driver training industry.

'Without knowing how, when and why drivers crash it is harder to effectively target training to help them stay safe.

'As a company, our aim is to help bring the road death figure down to zero, so while there is much to celebrate in these statistics, there are also areas of concern that need to be addressed.

'In particular, fleets should be aware of the rise in the number of deaths on motorways – for the first time since 2005. The reasons behind this rise are not yet clear and, although motorways still remain statistically our safest roads, it is food for thought for those involved in driver training.'

And Brake, the road safety charity, welcomed the reduction in overall road deaths, but stressed that the government needs to do much more to reduce casualties faster. 

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said: 'Road casualties in the UK are falling – but they are not falling nearly fast enough. Since 2010, progress has stalled dramatically. At this rate, it will be many more decades before we reach the only acceptable number of casualties on our roads, and that number is zero. The government needs to take far more proactive action to drive casualties down faster, including a zero-tolerance drink drive limit, a 20mph default urban speed limit, and graduated driver licensing to tackle young driver crashes.'


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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.