Crash Stats – Government Reveals continuing decline in Road Accident Fatalities

Statistics revealed by The Department of Transport’s 2015 annual report on reports road casualties in Great Britain show a 3% decrease in the number of fatalities on Britain’s roads compared to 2014.

Fatalities fall by 45% in a decade

The annual total of 1,730 fatalities in 2015 is the second lowest annual total on record after 2013 and 45% lower than a decade earlier, in 2006.

The number of seriously injured in 2015 is also down by 3% on the previous year, while the number of casualties of all severities in 2015 is down 4% on 2014 figures.  These are the second lowest levels on record.

Road Safety Casualty Dashboard

(source: 2015 Road Safety Casualty Dashboard (2011-2015))

2006 – 2010 showed a steady decline in the number of deaths and figures between 2011 and 2015 are fairly stable – a hopeful indication of fatalities remaining low over the long-term – but there’s no room for complacency as the figures still equate to an average of almost five fatalities per day.

Injuries and fatalities fall while the number of vehicles on the roads increases

The stability in injury and fatality statistics is amplified when taking into account that there are more vehicles on the roads in 2015 than 2014, with a 1.6% increase year on year.

Trends in road casualty statistics are notoriously difficult to evaluate, as there are so many variable factors to be taken into account, such as the weather and the number and type of road users involved.

A number of research papers addressing this issue have been published over the years, most notably that from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), which has shown a direct correlation between an increase in accidents and casualties in countries with a growing economy.

As a counterpoint, says the OECD, economic stagnation leads to lower traffic growth rates, if not a decrease.  As road users try to cut down on spending, reductions can be seen in what are thought to be high-risk groups (e.g. young drivers who put off learning to drive) and reductions in risky behaviours (e.g. speeding and drinking and driving).

The challenge is for the U.K. to maintain the trend for falling casualties and fatalities. If this can be achieved, it’s not only good news for road safety campaigners, but for the cost of car insurance in the long-term.

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