RTA deaths down 41% in 50 years

RTA deaths down 41% in 50 years

The number of car crash deaths in Britain has almost halved over the last 50 years, according to a new report.

A study by the Emergency Medicine Journal found that since 1960 the level of annual road fatalities has fallen by 41%.

Road traffic accidents caused 1,647 deaths in 1960, and was reduced to 964 in 2009.

Children killed in car crashes also fell from 66 in 1960 to 20 in 2009, but the number of people over 75 killed on the roads increased from 68 to 231 to in 1990, before decreasing to 109 in 2009.

A total of 102,196 people have died in car crashes over the past 50 years, researchers from the University of Nottingham, Barts Healthcare and Homerton Hospital discovered.

More women were killed in car crashes than men, the researchers also found.

The introduction of compulsory seatbelts, tougher drink driving laws, child safety seats and speed cameras had all contributed to the fall in road deaths, they believe.

"However, it is possible that while these interventions have resulted in a reduction in the absolute number of deaths from [road traffic accidents] in England and Wales, they have not modified the relative differential in age of death between sexes or socioeconomic groups in those who die after [a car crash]," said the report.

Commenting, RAC technical director David Bizley said: "Vehicle technology is widely acknowledged to have improved road safety and this may go some way towards explaining why the figures show that people from less well-off backgrounds are more likely to die in a car crash than those from more affluent backgrounds as this group will almost certainly be benefiting from the latest vehicle and in-car safety features.

"This would also be true of younger drivers as we unfortunately know that an 18-year-old is three times more likely to be involved in a crash than a 48-year-old.

"Britain's roads are unquestionably safer than ever before. Over the last 25 years, the number of people killed or injured on our roads has fallen from 5,500 per year in the mid-1980s to fewer than 2,000 per year now. Over the same period, annual road casualties (killed or injured) have decreased from 240,000 (including 75,000 serious injuries) to just over 200,000 (including 23,000 serious injuries).

"Road casualty statistics for 2012 showed fatalities at their lowest ever level and that the number of people killed or seriously injured is actually very similar to 2010 which signifies that the longer term downward trend may have come to an end and may be plateauing.

"Research from the RAC Report on Motoring 2013 found the majority of motorists (86%) recognise that cars are safer today than they used to be and nearly two thirds of drivers (63%) believe in-car technology makes them feel safer than ever before.

"Despite the fact almost half of motorists (48%) think the authorities are not as interested in road safety as they used to be, more than a third (37%) agree the roads are safer today than before, rising to almost half (49%) of high mileage drivers."

Copyright Press Association 2013