Rise in road casualties condemned by Brake

2 February 2017 
news@brake.org.uk

Calls for zero road deaths as road casualty figures rise

25,160 people killed or seriously injured in the year ending September 2016, a 6% increase on the previous year

Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on the government to take action to reduce the numbers killed and seriously injured on our roads. In recent years road safety policy has been diminished by a lack of interest, urgency and resources, the consequences of which are becoming increasingly apparent as our road casualty figures begin to rise. Brake is calling on the government to act now to uphold its commitment to zero road deaths and injuries on the road.

Road casualty figures released today by the Department for Transport reveal an alarming increase in overall road deaths and serious injuries (6%), although there has been a small drop in slight injuries over the same period. Road casualties have increased for all road users during this period, with car occupant casualties increasing by 10% and motorcyclist casualties by 5%. The number of children (aged 0-15) killed or seriously injured on our roads has risen by 8%. Clear evidence that action needs to be taken, particularly to protect our most vulnerable road users.   

Worryingly, the government’s provisional estimates suggest that there has been a “statistically significant” increase in the numbers killed and seriously injured in a crash where one or more of the drivers were under the influence of alcohol. The number of collisions involving alcohol increased by 2% over the same period, revealing a widespread problem that must be addressed if we are to keep our road users safe. Brake is calling on the government to increase the resources available to the police so they can crack-down on dangerous drivers that choose to get behind the wheel when they are over the limit.  

Lucy Amos, research advisor for Brake, said: “The figures released today are a clear indication that action should be taken. The significant rise in road deaths and injuries, particularly in those associated with drink-driving must not be ignored. In 2015, the government committed us to a Vision Zero policy – a future where there are no road deaths or serious injuries on our roads. If this is to be achieved, the gradual rise in road casualties must be stopped now.”

Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, said: The figures are heading in the wrong direction. Five people die every day on UK roads. That is a tragedy that is seemingly being ignored by government. We’re calling for the reintroduction of ambitious road casualty targets, increased investment in infrastructure, and vehicle development to ensure our roads are safe and our vehicles secure. We also need more resources available to the police to enforce the law.”

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, 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 campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, 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.

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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.