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.
The statistics released by the Department for Transport show an increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured, in particular pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, last year (2014) compared to 2013.
RoSPA is concerned as the figures show a four per cent rise in deaths to 1,775. Of particular worry is the number of vulnerable road users being killed or injured. Three-quarters of the increase in deaths were pedestrian casualties, meaning that last year one in four people killed on the road were pedestrians. There were also 16,727 child casualties in 2014 – up 6.2 per cent on the previous year.
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 per cent 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 per cent.
Overall motorcyclist casualties increased from 18,752 to 20,366, an increase of 9 per cent.
There were almost 200,000 casualties last year on Britain’s roads – the first overall increase since 1997.
Traffic levels also rose by 2.4 per cent in 2014, which may account partly for the increase in deaths and injuries on our roads.
Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at RoSPA, said: “As our economy improves, we can expect traffic levels to continue to increase, so we must do everything we can to make sure this does not lead to even more increases in road crashes and casualties.
“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.
“The number of pedestrian fatalities involving those over 60 has increased by 16 per cent, together with a 7 per cent increase in car occupants. With an aging population we must renew our efforts to reverse this phenomenon.”
RoSPA advocates a comprehensive road strategy to help prevent deaths and life-changing injuries.
Measures would include:
- A reduction in the drink-drive limit in England and Wales to 50mg, to match Scotland and most of Europe
- The introduction of a package of measures to reduce crashes involving young drivers, such as graduated driver licensing
- Help for employers to reduce the risks their staff face and create when they drive or ride for work
- Creation of a safe cycling environment and improvement of driver and cyclist attitudes and behaviour towards each other, to reduce cyclist casualties and help people who want to cycle, but are deterred from doing so because they think it is not safe enough
- Introducing safer vehicles into our fleet as quickly as possible as vehicle technology improves
- Ensuring there are sufficient numbers of road police officers to properly enforce road safety laws
- Adopting Single/Double British Summer Time
Maximising the road safety benefits of telematics and similar technologies for young drivers, businesses and commercial drivers.