RAC dismay as road fatalities hit five-year high

RAC dismay as road fatalities hit five-year high
Fresh figures which show the number of people killed on Britain's roads reached a five-year high last year, will be viewed with “dismay” according to the RAC.

Responding to the Department for Transport (DfT) figures – which show 2016 presided over 1,792 road traffic accident deaths in the UK – RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said “more could, and should be done to save lives.”

The number of fatalities attributed to road accidents was up by 4% on 2015, a rise DfT statisticians claim is attributable only to “natural variation”.

READ MORE: Lack of traffic police undermines safe driving efforts

The number of pedestrian deaths saw a hugely significant 10% year-on-rise, followed closely by car occupants at 8%.

In total 24,101 people were seriously injured on Britain’s roads in 2016 – a 9% increase on the previous year.

But despite the overall fatality figure standing at its highest since 2011, the DfT says the increase is “not statistically significant”, warning that comparisons should be “interpreted with caution” due to changes in the way police forces are classifying the severity of injuries.

Last week the RAC reported that a hard core of millions of drivers continue to ignore the laws around handheld mobile use at the wheel.

Commenting on the DfT figures the RAC’s Pete Williams says in spite of the statisticians’ insistence, every life lost on the roads is” surely one too many.”

“The report clearly states that ‘there is unlikely to be as large falls in casualties as there were earlier on without further significant interventions.’ This is surely an admission that more could, and should, be done to save lives,” he said.

“Simply because there is more traffic on our roads does not mean that we should accept that road deaths will inevitably go up.”

Mr Williams reminds all motorists that several organisations, away from government, are working tirelessly behind the scenes to enhance road safety.

Among these, the RAC’s own Be Phone Smart campaign has a focus on tackling mobile phone use at the wheel.

Mr Williams adds: “These can all have a tangible impact on future road casualty numbers, but there is absolutely no question that the Government needs to redouble its efforts to ensure that progress is once again made to bring road deaths down.”

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.