Last week the Department of Transport released the official 2012 UK road casualties statistics. You can take a look at the full report here - http://bit.ly/18AMTvf
The headlines show that the UK's roads, already some of the safest in the world, are getting safer still:
- The number of people killed in road accidents fell 8% in 2012, to 1,754. This is the lowest figure since records began in 1926.
- The number of people seriously injured fell by 0.4% compared to 2011.
- Overall, total casualties dropped by some 4% to 195,723.
- Child casualties dropped by 11%.
- Personal injury related road accidents dropped by 4% to 145,571.
- Pedestrian deaths dropped 7% to 420.
- Motorcyle deaths were down 9% to 362.
Cyclists, however, have fared less well, with the report highlighting a 10% increase in deaths - 118 cyclists were killed on Britain's roads last year. This continues an upward trend in cycling deaths and 2012 marks the eighth year in a row that the number of serious cycling injuries has increased.
These statistics need to be set against some overall road usage numbers. Whilst vehicle traffic levels remained fairly stable in 2012 compared to 2011, the increasing popularity of cycling, fuelled by 2012's Olympic and Tour de France successes, has resulted in more people taking to two wheels: British Cycling estimated that there was a 200,000 increase in regular cyclists, whilst retailer Halfords reported a 14.7% increase in bike sales in the three months to September 2012.
The report contains some interesting correlations between weather conditions (remember that 2012 was one of the wettest recorded) and accident levels. Broadly, the wet spring kept motorbikers, cyclists and pedestrians off the roads and pavements, leading to fewer injuries than might have been the case in drier years.
Perhaps the most useful analysis is the benchmarking of 2012 data against the 2005-9 period that is used as the basis for longer term comparison. Compared to this period the UK's roads are now considerably safer:
- The number of people killed or seriously injured in down 17%.
- Child casualties are down 28%.
- Road accidents generally are down 19%.
Safer cars, safer roads, better road safety awareness - all these have contributed to the improvements. And for all road users, a reduction in accidents and injuries not only makes driving, riding and walking much safer. It should also have a positive influence on car insurance pricing.
Drive safely and let's keep those stats dropping!