Brake Reports Worrying Increase in Road Traffic Accidents

Road safety charity Brake has recently reported an increase in road casualties and is calling on all political parties to support three essential road safety policies. The protection of pedestrians, cyclists, children and young people is being urgently sought. The figures make for depressing reading and show that deaths and serious injuries on British roads increased during the year ending September 2014 by 4% - with deaths up by 1%.

All in, 1,730 people were killed and 22,630 seriously injured in the year ending September 2014/ This figure is up from 1,711 deaths and 21,728 serious injuries in 2013. Casualties of all severities have increased by 5%, from 184,087 to 192,910.

Of particular concern are child and cyclist casualties. Child deaths and serious injuries have increased by 3% to 2,060, - with casualties of all severities up by 6% to 16,640 – what's concerning about this statistic is that this is the first rise in rolling year comparisons for 20 years. Cyclist deaths and serious injuries have also increased to 3,500 – a rise of 8%.

As a result of these figures Brake is calling on all political parties to commit to three, key general election manifesto actions to ensure casualty rates fall and ensure everyone can get around safely, sustainably and actively:

  • Change the default urban speed limit to 20mph to protect people on foot and bike. The current speed limit of 30mph was set in 1930 when there were considerably fewer cars on the roads.
  • Implement graduated driver licensing. This would allow new drivers to build skills and experience incrementally while at the same time, be exposed to less danger.
  • Introduce a zero-tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg per 100ml of blood, to eradicate the menace of drink driving forever. Scotland recently reduced the drink drive limit to 50mg for every 100ml of blood. In England, Wales and Ireland the level is higher at 80mg for every 100ml.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, didn't pull her punches: “These casualty increases are a failure of ambition. They come on the back of thirty six months of flat-lining road death and serious injury figures, during which the government congratulated itself on having 'some of the safest roads in the world', rather than making forward thinking decisions and setting targets to secure further reductions. We need a commitment to a long-term strategy of nobody being killed or seriously injured on our roads, rather than settling for the status quo. Every road casualty causes appalling suffering, and everyone can be prevented, but only if we make the right moves.

“Global research and experience clearly points to the policies that prevent road casualties and the resultant suffering, and enable people to get around through healthy and sustainable means. Based on this evidence, we're appealing to all political parties to include three key life-saving measures in manifestos: graduated driver licensing, a 20mph default urban speed limit, and a zero-tolerance drink drive limit. We're in no doubt these measures would put us back on the path of stopping needless loss of life on our roads, and creating safer streets and communities for all."