Road Safety: Deaths On The Road Increase Year-On-Year
New data published by the Department for Transport has revealed that deaths on the road increased by 8.7% from 2021 to 2022.
The total figures showed that the number of deaths on UK roads was 1,695 in 2022, up from 1,558 the previous year.
In fact, the only category of fatalities that decreased last year was cyclist deaths, which dropped to 85 from 111, by the number of cyclists seriously injured increased by almost 10%.
And when we look at the picture from the previous year, the focus was sharply on drink-driving, which had seen a significant reduction over previous years’ figures.
How Safe Are UK Roads?
The DfT has said that the increase is a natural response to higher volumes of traffic being on the road as people returned to offices and lockdown restrictions ended.
2021 saw significant restrictions and more people working from home, which naturally meant there were fewer incidents and deaths on the road.
In fact, 2022’s fatality levels were similar to pre-pandemic levels, broadly on-trend with figures in 2019 and previous years.
It’s largely the same picture for drink-driving, with figures mirroring lower levels of traffic on the roads in 2021 but returning to expected levels since. There was a 17% decrease in injuries and deaths caused by drink-driving in 2021, but the amount of traffic on the road decreased by 25% during the pandemic.
When you take both factors into account, it’s unclear how much of a decrease (if any) there would have been if it wasn’t for the impact of the pandemic.
Significant efforts have been made in recent years to highlight the dangers of drink-driving to motorists, with awareness campaigns being promoted by the government.
With around 6% of all road casualties involving a driver who was found to be over the limit, there’s still a serious issue with road safety.
However, the fall in the number of drink-driving collisions was roughly in line with the overall reduction in road collisions.
Experts are keen to point out that the figures don’t tell the whole story, though…
In fact, many casualties are caused by drivers who are under the legal drink-drive limit but above the point of intoxication where cognitive function is affected.
What Does It Mean For Road Safety?
There has been a lot of talk about the impact on road safety in recent months, particularly as traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels and all new smart motorways have been cancelled.
Road safety is evidently an issue that’s high on the agenda for the government and lots of measures are being considered, including attempts to reduce the levels of traffic on the road through clean air zones and other measures.
Calls are also being made by campaigners, including members of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) to reduce the legal drink-driving limit to increase safety for motorists.
What do you think about the current levels of road safety in the UK? Could more be done to keep drivers and other road users safe? Let us know in the comments below.