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Latest Road Casualty Figure Rise May Not Include Minor Injuries.

17th December 2013
According to current Quarterly Provisional Estimates up to September 2012, published recently by the Department of Transport (DfT), the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) on Britain’s main roads increased by 2 per cent - from 24,473 ( 12 months up to Sep 2011) to 24,860. On minor roads, fatal and serious accidents were also up by 5 per cent. Road accident casualties in 20mph zones had risen by nearly 25 per cent compared to 30mph zones in 2011.

While the total number of casualties actually fell by 3 per cent from 197,730 to 146,980 accidents in the year ending Sep 2011 to Sep 2012, at the same time motor vehicle traffic levels increased by 0.2 per cent over the same period.

One of the problems of figures reported relating to non-fatal injuries is that there is a significant number of non-fatal casualties, which are simply “not known to the police.” In addition, according to previous data research from injury compensation claims and hospital A&Es, for example, there are also unreported casualties who sustained only slight injuries in a road accident, which are likely to be a higher proportion in number than the unreported number of casualties which suffered major, serious injuries.

One 2011 estimate based on National Travel Survey data, is that the real total number of annual road casualties, including those not reported to the police, is more likely to be between 660,000 to 800,000 or an average of 730,000.

If the above figures do show a truer picture of current accident casualties on Britain’s roads, then the use of police reported figures alone may simply be no longer a reliable measure for future use.

While both pedestrian and all road user child KSIs (ages 0-15) are also reported to have fallen by 1 per cent Sep 2011/Sep 2012, by November 2012, the DfT reported a year-on-year increase in deaths and serious injuries of all those classified as vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians. Cyclists, in particular, suffered a 9 per cent rise or double the KSI number.

The long term outlook looks to be on a downward trend, according to DfT figures, with a 19 per cent overall reduction in all road casualties 246,050 in 2005 to 199,740 in the 12 month period Jul 2011–Jun 2012.