Vision zero: Brake welcomes road deaths fall but urges action to protect most vulnerable

Thursday 26 June 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

Brake has welcomed annual government statistics, out today, showing deaths and serious injuries on Britain's roads fell by 6% in 2013. This is an improvement on the 1% reduction in 2012. Read the full report. Figures are available by police force and local authority area (tables RAS30007, RAS30008).

  • 1,713 people were killed, 2% fewer than 2012 - that's five a day
  • 21,657 people suffered serious injuries, 6% fewer than 2012 - that's 59 a day

Aside from a slight increase in 2011, road casualties have followed a steady downward trend since 1994. However, Brake strongly believes that the government should ultimately aim to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads to zero - we should not have to wait another 10 years to achieve this.

As a charity that supports families and individuals bereaved or injured by road crashes, Brake sees first-hand the immense, life-changing and life-long suffering they cause. One road death is too many, and every road crash is preventable.

Brake has welcomed reductions in pedestrian and cyclist casualties, but it is too early to tell whether this is part of a longer term trend as these figures have seen increases in recent years. Brake remains concerned that these vulnerable road user groups continue to represent a high proportion of road casualties. The statistics show that in 2013:

  • 398 people were killed and 4,998 seriously injured walking, 10% less than 2012 - that's 15 a day
  • 109 people were killed and 3,143 seriously injured cycling, 3% less than 2012 - that's nine a day

To tackle this ongoing, needless waste of life and resulting suffering, and with a general election on the horizon, Brake is urging policy-makers to commit to three key pledges:

  • Change the default urban speed limit to 20mph to protect people on foot and bike, and allow everyone to walk and cycle without fear of death or injury. Read more about the GO 20 campaign.
  • Introduce graduated driver licensing, to allow new drivers to build skills and experience gradually while exposed to less danger. Read more about the Too young to die campaign.
  • Introduce a zero-tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg per 100ml of blood, to stamp out the menace of drink driving once and for all. Read more about the Not a drop, not a drag campaign.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "Road crashes are not only a senseless and preventable waste of life - they are also sudden and violent events that tear apart whole families and communities. Road crashes leave scars, both mental and physical, that last a lifetime. In the twenty-first century, in an age that values human rights, we should not be denying anyone the right to a life free of fear of violent death. Nor, in a time of austerity, should we be burdened by the costly economic and social mess that road crashes leave in their wake. That's why five deaths a day on our roads is still too many; one would be too many. Every road crash is preventable - our vision is zero."

Read about Brake's GO 20, Too young to die, and Not a drop, not a drag campaigns. Tweet us: @Brakecharity.

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, a Fleet Safety Forum, practitioner services, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.