Road deaths up 4% – are our roads becoming more dangerous?

News entry dated 11th Oct 2017

The Department for Transport has released its annual report on the number of accidents and deaths on the UK’s roads. The number of people killed has gradually declined over the last ten years. However, the number of deaths on our roads between 2015 and 2016 has suddenly increased by 4%. Are our roads becoming more dangerous?

Road deaths rise by 4%

According to the report, 1,792 people were killed in accidents during 2016. That’s, an increase of 4% on the previous year (though still a 6% decrease on 2011’s figures). In addition, 24,101 people were seriously injured, an increase of 9% on the previous year and 4% on 2011.

Thankfully, there was at least some good news, in that the number of people slightly injured decreased by 4% year on year, to 155,491. That figure is 13% lower than the number of those slightly injured in 2011.

Overall, the figures showed an increase of 62 fatalities on the roads in 2016 when compared with 2015. However, the authors noted that some police forces have changed how they record statistics. This could perhaps account for some of the changes in the statistics.
 

(Credit – Highways England CC by 2.0)

What affects the figures?

The report states that there is no single underlying factor that leads to road casualties. Instead, there are a number of influences. These include:

  • The distance that people travel – this can be affected by economic factors, such as having to travel further to work or to go shopping
  • The blend of transport modes in use
  • The behaviour of drivers – along with that of riders and pedestrians
  • The mixture of people using the roads – the balance of older drivers and younger drivers, for example
  • External factors – the weather, for example, can change the number of driving people and also the road conditions, with rain making the road slippery and encouraging people to use their cars rather than walking

Road user type

Another element examined in the report is the type of road user. The data looked at how many road users of each type were included in the casualty figures.

In 2016, there were 816 fatalities in cars. These accounted for 46% of the total figure – an increase of 8% over the previous year. Meanwhile, 25% (448) of people killed were pedestrians, a 10% increase on 2015. The number of people on motorcycles decreased by 13%, to 319, while 102 cyclists were killed – an increase of 2% on last year.  The remainder of the number were counted as ‘other’ and had increased by 4%.

Dealing with an accident

Car users are the most likely group to be involved in an accident. This is hardly surprising, given that they make up the majority of road users. Motoring organisations have long issued guidance on how to try and avoid accidents. Now, they’re adding in advice about what to do if you are involved in one.

A long-standing idea has been not to apologise, as this amounts to admitting fault legally. While this is generally the case, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer help, make sure everyone is okay and wait for the authorities to arrive, if they are coming.

Likewise, for pedestrians, there is clear advice available to try and reduce the risk of becoming a statistic. This includes steps such as using pedestrian crossings wherever possible and to ensuring you’re visible to motorists so they can avoid you. Also, don’t be tempted to read that text message while walking – you could walk into the road and cause an accident due to a lack of concentration. Wait until you’ve reached your destination instead. The same goes for drivers, of course.

Do you feel any less safe on our roads of late? Are we becoming increasingly distracted by technology as we drive or could another factor be behind the rising number of road deaths? Leave a comment to share your thoughts. 

 

Comments

67 Comments On "Road deaths up 4% – are our roads becoming more dangerous?"

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John Pierce
John Pierce
I have felt for some time that the standard of driving has decreased. So much so that I have bought a dash-cam and us it on all journeys. People seem to drive a lot closer than they used to, this is relatively easy to control by leaving a larger gap to the vehicle in front. Unfortunately the habit of undertaking and cutting in front us not so easy to control. On a recent journey on a motorway I was undertaken by a car on the hard shoulder which then switched through lanes 1 to 3 nearly clipping two cars on… Read more »
Graham
Graham

I believe it is because people believe they are invincible with abs, airbags, NCAP, better brakes, etc.looking after them, so they take more risks and leave less margin for error.

david raine
david raine

The standard of driving has got worse and there is almost no visible police presence on our roads so some drivers do as they please knowing that there is very little likelihood of being caught. I am surprised they have not gone up more. For those who are caught the penalties are often quite derisory and not in any way a deterrent.

Andy Ross
Andy Ross
I live on a main trunk road and over the past few years the volume of traffic has increased significanlty. Not only this but the speed of cars has also increased with very few staying within the 30mph limit. there is a school and pedestrian crossing on the road with a 20mph speed limit but nobody slows down despite the flashing 20mph signs. It seems everybody is in a hurry to get to where they are going and if you aren’t travelling at least 5mph over the speed limit drivers are sitting on your bumper urging you to go faster.… Read more »
SallyD
SallyD

We drive around the Uk a lot touring and visiting family and friends, and the standard of driving had deteriorated drastically in the last few years, particularly LANE DISCIPLINE. the left hand lane is rarely used, and the more lanes available the more spread out the traffic.
The police and the road authorities don’t appear to be doing anything to educate people about this, which is very frustrating.
also many drivers use their mobile phones while driving I see this so often, don’t they realise how dangerous this is.

noco
noco

Giving signals seems to be voluntary too.

Jamie
Jamie
I think the authorities need to knock on the head this sudden fad for stupidly bright LED speed limit signs. A driver’s attention is instantly diverted from where he/she should be looking, i.e. the road ahead, and it is no stretch to say I have seen quite a few near misses. In the main there are a lot of inexperienced drivers, foreign lorry drivers, etc. who have a shaky grasp of intelligent driving. E.g. driving with 4 mates or heavy cargo in your car increases the weight, braking distance, wear on brake pads, fuel consumption, etc. Years ago I said… Read more »
David
David
Frankly, I’m not surprised given that the Police appear to have pretty much given up on traffic policing. Following two deaths in the family over the summer, I’ve recently had to travel from Berkshire to York almost weekly, meaning a lot more motorway driving than I would normally do. In 5,000 or 6,000 miles of these journeys, I seen some utterly dreadful driving but only one police car, which was attending an existing accident. Police Constables have been very clear that cut-backs have meant they’ve had to curtail services, and it appears that traffic policing has been cut back to… Read more »
Dave C
Dave C

traffic policing was one of the first things to be reduced….hence the statistics….

Mark
Mark

I believe that drivers are becoming increasingly distracted both within the car by advancing infotainment and also by the myriad of additional information on the road. Speed humps, constantly changing speed limits on motorways, fear of speed camers, kerbs that jutt unexpectedly into the road, over signage, etc. all take attention away from the most important element of safe driving – hazard perception. The standard of driving is also declining in my opinio; I see appalling road positioning, tailgating, lack of indication and poor observation every day and am forced to drive more defensively than ever.

Trevor
Trevor

Not much use asking people to use pedestrian crossings. As as cyclist and pedestrian (mostly) I have noted that they have put longer and longer wait times on pedestrian lights to keep traffic flowing so pedestrians just ignore the lights and dart across – interesting to see if there are more accidents near pedestrian crossings.

Dave
Dave

The rare chance of seeing a highly trained police traffic patrol (including police motor cyclists) has led to a blasé approach to the rules of the road, and unacceptable standards of driving amongst more and more motorists, as the risk of detection/prosecution are pretty much nil, thanks to the current government’s policy towards this and other essential public services. High death and casualty rates are bound to happen. Cameras are not the answer.

Mark M
Mark M

More camera than ever, roads speed limits all reduced to cater for the idiot drivers and deaths go up? Don’t tell me, they need more cameras!

Dave Kitson
Dave Kitson
Dave I must be unique. I can’t say I’ve noticed any significant reduction in driving standards. As a general rule I’d say it is pretty good where I live (Basingstoke) but I’ve lived in 9 locations from Yorkshire through Devon to Kent. I’m 75, driven 1 million miles, HGV 1 (as was) Advanced Motorist, cars & HGV, so I’ve been around a bit. I think cars are getting unnecessarily complicated. My current car is a Mitsubishi PHEV. Very good but some of the controls are badly placed. I have two below my left armpit with 3 more next to my… Read more »
martin
martin

Part of the problem is as drivers we are bombarded by threats and fines. We are now constantly on the look for speed cameras, fast and little notice of speed changes (usually in the vicinity of speed cameras), speed average cameras. It just goes on and on to the point we are now no longer looking at the road but for all the traps that cost us money and points. To summarise we are looking for various money related traps causing less attention to the actual roads and conditions.

noco
noco

If you are driving below the legal speed there is no need to look out for camera traps! Think about it!

David Adams
David Adams

My thoughts exactly. More arbitrary speed limits/speed traps = more attention to speedometers = less attention to the road = more accidents.

edward regan
edward regan

Totally agree with Lorna. State of road markings and signage is abysmal. Why arn’t highway chiefs prosecuted for not supplying roads that are fit for purpose

Lorna Dupre
Lorna Dupre

Driving at night is becoming increasingly hazardous, with no street lighting, no cats’ eyes or studs, and faded or non-existent white lining on many major roads.

Nevil Cox
Nevil Cox

Surely this government should sit up and listen to the facts. Cutting Traffic Cops has consequences. Not enough of us to Police the roads and the figures just speak for themselves. More cops more enforcement and a deterrent to the Fatal Four Speeding Drink and Drug Driving mobile phone use ensuring people wear a seat belt.
Mrs May what are you going to do about it???

John
John

I also feel that one of the reasons why motorways are not as safe as they could be is the membership of the ‘Middle Lane Owners Club’, those who steadfastly refuse to move out of the middle lane even if the inside lane is clear. It also doesn’t help when even the authorities and TV presenters refer to the lanes as ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ inside of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, thus deterring people from using lanes correctly.

OY OZ GO OOOOOOGS
OY OZ GO OOOOOOGS

Hopefully, in the next few years cars which get you around without needing a human driver will mean that there are NO accidents. That would be wonderful. Let’s hope that the promise is the same as the realisation.

noco
noco

You’ve got a hope! What is to stop the ne’re-do-wells stepping out into the road in front of your prized automated car and taking it from you at the point of a gun or hammer?

Iain
Iain
I travel to all corners of the UK for both business and pleasure reasons. There several reasons for the increase, but the biggest one has to be the number of lorries on our roads, not only do they congest the roads, whether it is a motorway or A and B roads, but, due to their excessive weigh they break down the road surfaces,which causes the excessive number of road repairs. It is now time for the government to rebuild the rail network and remove these oversized vehicles off our roads. How many of these lorries are actually full? If we… Read more »
Pauly
Pauly

Rubbish! How many vans will be needed to replace a truck? Have you thought about everything you buy in the supermarket – how did it get there? Have you not thought about using the train, one less car on the road then!!

Adastra100
Adastra100

Just how many accidents were caused by drivers who did not have a UK driving licence? The problem is also to do with the huge increase in the population because most of the immigrants coming in are not used to driving on the left hand side of the road and the high levels of traffic compared with particularly eastern European countries. But I notice this not a factor worthmentioning. Head in sand again.

John
John

What is the huge increase in..population?

jetabout
jetabout

I live in Peterborough and sorry to say whenever there is a fatality on roads in this area it is usually caused by foreign lorry drivers. Last one was yesterday that closed A1 for hours

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