Road Deaths at All Time Low
Well its not often we hear some good news, but it seems road deaths in Great Britain were at an all time low during 2009 and clearly that’s good and its why this part of the Department for Transport’s report is grabbing the headlines. However the report covers a number of other areas, not all so positive.
If you are a road user, of any sort, driver, cyclist or pedestrian, you really should read this report as it brings home the stark reality that people really are injured on our roads whilst going about there everyday life and indeed, many are killed. It’s not a TV program, or computer game and each one of these statistics is a human being, someone’s, son, daughter, mother or father.
To help you, we have taken the main statistics from the report and placed them into easily understandable groups so that in the 2 or 3 minutes it takes to read this article, you would have read all of the major findings from the report.
One thing however that is worrying about the report is that the Executive Director of the governments advisory council for transport safety (PACTS) says that these figures are subject to qualification and that other sources of data suggest the overall casualty figure “may be far higher” than those in the DfT report, as not all accidents or casualties are reported to the police.
Anyway, press on and first let’s take a look at a general overview of its findings:-
The report looks at the main trends in the number of reported road accident casualties in Great Britain in 2009, compared to recent years.
In 2009 there were a total of 222,146 reported casualties of all severities, 4 per cent lower than in 2008. 2,222 people were killed, 12 per cent lower than in 2008, 24,690 were seriously injured (down 5 per cent) and 195,234 were slightly injured (down 4 per cent).
- The number of fatalities fell for almost all types of road user, with a fall of 16 per cent for car occupants, 13 per cent for pedestrians, 10 per cent for pedal cyclists and 4 per cent for motorcyclists.
Compared with the 1994-98 average, in 2009:
- The number killed was 38 per cent lower;
- The number of reported killed or seriously injured casualties was 44 per cent lower;
- The number of children killed or seriously injured was 61 per cent lower; and
- The slight casualty rate was 37 per cent lower.
- In contrast traffic rose by an estimated 15 per cent over this period.
Drinking and driving
- In 2009, it was estimated that 11,990 reported casualties (5 per cent of all road casualties) occurred when someone was driving whilst over the legal alcohol limit.
- The provisional number of people estimated to have been killed in drink drive accidents was 380 in 2009 (17 per cent of all road fatalities), a decrease of 20 fatalities compared to the final 2008 estimate.
- The provisional number of killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties in 2009 was 1,860, 8 per cent below the final 2008 estimate.
Contributory factors to road accidents
- Failed to look properly was again the most frequently reported contributory factor and was reported in 38 per cent of all accidents reported to the police in 2009. Four of the five most frequently reported contributory factors involved driver or rider error or reaction. For fatal accidents the most frequently reported contributory factor was loss of control, which was involved in 36 per cent of fatal accidents.
- Exceeding the speed limit was reported as a factor in 5 per cent of accidents, but these accidents involved 17 per cent of fatalities. At least one of exceeding the speed limit and traveling too fast for the conditions was reported in 13 per cent of all accidents and these accidents accounted for 27 per cent of all fatalities.
- Pedestrian failed to look properly was reported in 58 per cent of accidents in which a pedestrian was injured or killed, and pedestrian careless, reckless or in a hurry was reported in 23 per cent. Eighteen per cent of pedestrian casualties had both of these factors reported.
The best current estimate taken from survey data is that the total number of road casualties in Great Britain each year, including those not reported to police, is within the range 610 thousand to 780 thousand with a central estimate of 700 thousand.
In 2009 there were around 39 thousand admissions to hospitals in England resulting from road traffic accidents, compared with the 21 thousand serious injuries reported in police data. Pedestrians were more likely to be admitted to hospital with a head or face injury than other road users, 46 per cent having such an injury in 2009 compared to 33 per cent of road casualties overall. Car occupants were much more likely to suffer neck injuries than other road users (14 per cent, compared to less than 5 per cent of other road users). Forty nine per cent of pedestrians and 47 per cent of motorcyclists suffered an injury to their legs or hips and none of that sounds particularly pleasant to me.
Its inevitable with the number of us moving around either on foot, in a vehicle, or on two wheels, that we are going have accidents, but that makes it sound like accidents are something we cant avoid, because in many cases we can, its just that as a people we are risk takers, we gamble we can cross that road or get out of that junction, when in all honesty waiting just a short while would most likely take any risk out of the situation. Everyone’s busy, always in a hurry and mostly, not paying attention and all too often, there is a heavy price to pay for this, but do we learn from others misfortunes? Clearly the answer is no and unless we’ve been involved in an accident ourselves, or know somebody who has, it’s highly likely that we will never change our ways and so each one of us is effectively “the next accident waiting to happen”. Nice Thought!