The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety today welcomed the further fall in road casualties shown in the Main Results issued this morning by the Department for Transport:


Commenting on the results, Robert Gifford, Executive Director, said “The fall of 12% in deaths between 2008 and 2009 is higher than we predicted earlier in the week. It also far exceeds any fall in motorised traffic during the year. This suggests that improvements in safety on our roads can be sustained over a period of time. What is especially noteworthy is the fall of 26% in deaths in the final quarter. It will be interesting to know whether this level of fall was a one-off or will be maintained during 2010.


“However, of particular concern is the rise in serious and slight casualties among cyclists of 6% and 5% respectively. This may reflect increases in numbers of people cycling. If so, we need to ensure that they take up or return to cycling safely. What we want to see is more people cycling in greater safety, not an increased exposure to risk. The Department should look carefully at the extent to which its guidance on cycling infrastructure is being implemented by local highway authorities.


“One other aspect causes some concern. Table 5a shows falls in deaths on roads with 20mph and 50mph limits. However, on those same parts of the network, there were increases in serious and slight injuries. This may reflect reductions in average speeds leading to less severe impacts in the urban area. However, what we really want to see is reductions in overall numbers of crashes, not in just their severity.


“Some police forces have maintained substantial reductions in deaths over the last three years. Devon and Cornwall have seen deaths drop from 90 in 2007 to 78 in 2008 and 60 in 2009. Thames Valley Police has maintained its downward progress from 117 to 94 and 81 in 2009. In London, the Metropolitan Police have cut deaths from 220 in 2007 to 182 in 2009. Across Great Britain, deaths fell by 11%  in England, 12% in Wales and 20% in Scotland.


“These falls in deaths and injuries reflect the combined and co-ordinated efforts of local and national government, the private and the professional sectors to reduce death and injury. They have been helped by a target for casualty reduction that has provided a focus and a measure of public accountability. It is important that the new government publishes as soon as possible its target for further reductions beyond 2010.


“Reductions in crashes do not happen by accident. They happen through concerted and well-funded efforts based on research and evidence. We need to maintain that approach even in the mew more austere climate.”




For further information, please contact Robert Gifford 020 7222 7732 (work)


Note to Editors: The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety is a registered charity and associate Parliamentary group advising MPs and Peers on road, rail and air safety issues. Its charitable objective is “To protect human life through the promotion of transport safety for the public benefit”


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