Road traffic fatalities fall to second lowest level on record

Road traffic fatalities fall to second lowest level on record

Calls have been made for the Government to further boost road safety after figures revealed the number of fatalities on the roads last year fell to the second lowest level on record.

According to statistics released by the Department for Transport (DfT), 1,732 people lost their lives in road traffic accidents in 2015.

This was a drop of around 45% compared to 2006 and 2% lower than the 1,775 seen in 2014.

In addition the number of people seriously injured in traffic accidents fell by 3% to 22,137.

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There was also a slight rise of 1.6% in vehicle traffic levels between 2014 and 2015, the research shows.

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Following the release of the figures, which represent the second lowest annual total after 2013, the RAC has called for a range of measures to tackle road accidents.

These include increasing the number of roads police officers - after figures show a decrease in the number of officers in certain areas - and lowering the drink-drive limit in England and Wales, as well as making automatic braking compulsory in new vehicles.

In its analysis of the data, which comes from police reports, the DfT said that there has been no clear trend in the number of fatalities since before 2011, when the tendency was for levels to fall.

Since then, the DfT says, year-on-year changes can be explained by one-off factors such as adverse weather conditions or by natural variation.

Figures show that there were 186,209 casualties of all severities in 2015.

However, despite these positive findings, there was an 8% increase in the number of motorcyclists killed on the roads in 2015.

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The findings come after plans to convert motorway hard shoulders into permanent traffic lanes were branded unsafe by MPs on the Commons Transport Select Committee.

It was hoped the move would help to increase capacity, but the official inquiry concluded that it would be too risky for drivers.

David Bizley, RAC chief engineer, said it was a relief to see a fall in the figures, adding that concerted efforts are now needed to reduce the risk of road accidents in the years ahead.

“There are some very clear areas of opportunity to reduce casualties which could easily be targeted,” he said.

“These include better traffic law enforcement as roads police numbers have fallen 27% since 2010, making the use of handheld phones whilst driving as socially unacceptable as drink-driving, lowering the drink-drive limit in the rest of the UK to match Scotland’s 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, and finally getting to grips with the high level of casualties involving young drivers.

“Another straightforward step would be to make automatic emergency braking compulsory in all new vehicles.”

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