People who live in London and the South East are more likely to lose their life in a road accident than those living in the north, statistics reveal. Data provided by Department for Transport says road deaths across Great Britain have dropped 44% in the past 10 years, as 1,792 lives were claimed in 2016 compared to 3,172 in 2006, although the numbers have been rising slightly since 2011.
Fatalities by region for 2016 compared to the previous year
- South East 280 – up 19%
- East of England 213 – up 10%
- East Midlands 191 – up 10%
- North West 186 – up 5%
- South West 163 – down 6%
- West Midlands 155 – down 5%
- Yorkshire and the Humber 138 – down 7%
- London 116 – down 15%
- Wales 103 – down 2%
- North East 56 – down 10%
Deaths in Scotland were up by 18%
Statistics given for 2016 show car occupants accounted for 46% of the deaths whilst pedestrians accounted for 25%. Motorcyclists 18% and cyclists 6% made up the remainder. The figures still show 181,384 casualties were reported in 2016, although that’s a 3% drop on the previous year – and the lowest level on record.
Although motor traffic levels increased by 2.2% from 2015 to 2016, there was also an increase in road deaths of 4% from figures reported in 2015 to those reported for 2016.
The figures provide the number of personal-injury road traffic accidents in Great Britain that were reported by the police in 2016 using the STATS19 reporting system or from members of the public reporting the accident in police stations after the incident.
The death toll is the highest reported figure in Great Britain since 2011.
The trend in the number of fatalities has been broadly flat since 2010. Previously, and particularly between 2006 and 2010, the general trend was for fatalities to fall. Since that point, though, most of the year on year changes is either explained by one off causes (snow in 2010) or natural variation.
The evidence points towards Britain being in a period when the fatality numbers are fairly stable and most of the changes relate to random variation.
Scrapcarcomparison.co.uk, the UK’s only comparison site for damaged and scrap vehicles, says there is no single underlying factor that drives road casualties.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of older cars being scrapped from our roads but there are a number of influences which can contribute to road deaths.
“These can include the distance people travel, the mix of transport modes used and the behaviour of drivers, riders and pedestrians. The weather is another contributory factor along with a change in the numbers of newly qualified drivers and an increase in the population.”
There is no single underlying factor that drives road casualties. Instead, there are a number of influences. These include: The distance people travel; the mix of transport modes used; behaviour of drivers, riders and pedestrians; mix of groups of people using the road (e.g. changes in the number of newly qualified or older drivers); external effects such as the weather, which can influence behaviour (for instance, encouraging/discouraging travel, or closing roads) or change the risk on the roads (by making the road surface more slippery).
What is alarming is the high percentage of pedestrian deaths within the road fatality figures. Furthermore, there doesn’t seem to be a willingness by the government to investigate why 1 in 4 of all road deaths are people walking along the pavement, or trying to cross the road.
How many of those pedestrian deaths were due to uninsured/unlicensed drivers, or people using untaxed vehicles? How many pedestrians were killed whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or listening to ear buds or headphones? These are all fair questions but there does not seem to be any interest in obtaining answers via academic studies or in-depth research.
Until we understand the true causes behind serious road accidents there will be little progress on achieving Vision Zero.