RAC Foundation News - August 2019

More official statistics out from the Department for Transport; this time the provisional road casualty figures for 2018.

The good news is that fewer people died on Britain’s roads in 2018 than in 2017.

The bad news is that the headline figure – 1,782 fatalities – is only fractionally down on the previous year – 1,793 deaths – and has barely changed since 2010, though road traffic has increased by about 8% over the same period.

On top of those who lost their lives in 2018 a further 25,484 people were classified as having been seriously injured.

In terms of absolute numbers, it was car occupants who made up the highest proportion of fatalities – 777 in total. A further 454 were pedestrians; 354 were motorcyclists; 99 were cyclists; and 98 were ‘other’.

Yet it is also important to see the rate at which different road users are losing their lives. Motorcyclists are by far at the greatest risk with 120 dying per billion passenger miles travelled. However, there are just 1.8 car occupant deaths per billion miles. Only bus passengers face less risk per mile travelled than those in cars.

It is the so-called vulnerable group of road users that are, literally, bearing the brunt of crashes.

The RAC Foundation is at the forefront of trying to get the casualty figures back on a downward track, and is leading the government-funded road collision investigation project, working with three police forces to see whether systemic failures – to do with road design perhaps or wider social and employment policies – might lie behind some of the more obvious causes of crashes currently recorded by officers who attend the scene of a crash.

Last month the government launched its Road Safety Statement which, amongst other things, pledged to look at the benefits of introducing graduated driving licensing for younger, newly-qualified drivers and mandatory eye tests at age 70 for drivers.

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