Calls for More Action to Hit Road Safety Goals

The UK Government is due to release detailed road casualty figures for 2014. According to the RAC Foundation, these are expected to show that last year in Great Britain 1,775 people died on the roads (a 4% increase on the year before).  A further 22,807 were seriously injured (a 5% annual increase).

While current casualty figures are still significantly below those seen when the coalition Government came to power, much of the reduction came in 2010, the general election year, and the 2014 rise is the second in the last four years.

The figures come against a backdrop of reduced spending on road safety at local level and a concern that the lack of a national target has led to a lack of focus and loss of impetus, particularly in England, says the Foundation.

The Foundation also highlights how despite the general downward trend in death and injury on the roads over the past five years, progress has varied dramatically across the UK.

While car occupant safety has improved markedly, the situation amongst vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists) has been less good. Although deaths in this group have declined they are now a larger proportion of all road deaths, rising from 46% in 2005-9 to 50% in 2014. The absolute number of cyclists seriously injured has risen by 42%, which might partially be explained by the rise in the numbers cycling.

The Foundation believes that new casualty reduction targets need to be introduced if the recent increase in people being hurt on the roads is not to be repeated.

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