Radical change needed to lower road deaths

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is extremely concerned at the alarming increase in road deaths in Britain, following the publication of the latest accident statistics from the Department for Transport today.

Figures released this morning show that overall casualties have risen for the first time in 18 years.

The IAM urges the government to take radical steps to reverse these worrying figures before they become a trend, in particular that pedestrian protection must not be ignored and moved much further up the agenda, and the decline in numbers of police traffic officers must be reversed.

The figures show there were 1,775 reported road deaths in 2014, an increase of 4% compared with 2013. The number of those killed or seriously injured in Britain increased by 5% to 24,582. There were a total of 194,477 casualties of all severities, an increase of 6%, the first increase in overall casualties since 1997.

Pedestrian fatalities increased by 12 per cent from 398 in 2013 to 446 in 2014, and vehicle traffic levels increased by 2.4 per cent between 2013 and 2014. In addition, the numbers of people killed on roads with a 20mph limit increased by 367%.

Last week, Key Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2014 figures showed a total of 11,240 road casualties reported in 2014 and there were 200 fatalities – 6% more than 2013 (reference 2).

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: ‘These figures are greatly concerning and show the time for action is now.’

‘We are clear on what needs to happen. We call again for road safety targets to be reintroduced – they are the only clear way of ensuring reductions are measured and achieved.’

‘There also must be a greater focus on driver and rider quality and incentives for companies and individuals to continuously develop their skills.’

‘There also needs to be a focus on tackling pedestrian deaths, an area which is often ignored. We believe that car technology and design should now shift from occupant protection to protecting the vulnerable outside cars.’

Neil suggested manufacturers should pursue developments like pop-up bonnets, pedestrian airbags and detector systems.

He added: ‘We also need better pedestrian facilities to segregate traffic and vulnerable users where speeds are high, and campaigns to educate pedestrians themselves as they are most often at fault in crashes.’