Road deaths increased in 2014 - 28th July 2015

Road deaths increased in 2014, and although the Government seem more content to focus on the fact that it is still the third lowest figure following 2012 and 2013, the reality is that we have taken a backward step on road safety in 2014. Similar excuses will undoubtedly be cited for 2014, as they were in 2010 and 2011, when the weather was blamed for the increase. Anything rather than just accept that road users are not taking the care they should, or responsibility for their actions and maybe better interventions need to be implemented by Government.
Car occupant deaths increased by 12 (1.5%) which has been reported as ‘statistically insignificant ‘, although the families of the 12 would probably disagree, as would those of the other 785 people who also died. A total of 797 people died in 2014 due to car crashes, however more shocking, although not necessarily more surprising, is the fact that the serious injuries of car occupants figure has risen by 5.2% compared to that of 2013, to 8,035.
It has been a concern, voiced over the last few years, that making vehicles safer may help to reduce the death rate but does not improve the standard of driving or drivers and we still see the number of injuries annually of all severities caused by road traffic crashes standing at 194,477 – that’s nearly 4,000 injuries every week in Great Britain. This number does not include non injury incidents or those that may not be reported to the police. Drivers are simply getting more complacent, driving cars that are perceived to be uncrashable that have so much technology to correct their errors.
What is happening now is likely to become an increasing problem unless all road users take a more responsible approach to their own safety and the safety of others. Technology is now at the point where it can save a life but at the expense of potentially being severely hurt with life changing injuries for both vehicle occupants and other road users outside the vehicle  that are involved – pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. A concerning knock on effect of this is the economic impact of a lifetime of care to the growing number that suffer life changing injury. In 2014 car occupants only accounted for around a third of the total number of those who were seriously injured, a figure which is now 22,807 also up 5% on the 2013 figures.
Figures for vulnerable groups are still disproportionately high and the highest rise was pedestrians, up by 12% to 446, an increase of 48 fatalities, which is in fact three quarters of the rise in the total number of deaths for 2014, while the serious injuries for pedestrians only increased by 1.3%.
Cyclist and motorcyclist deaths were both higher but only by a small number in each category, however the number of serious injuries in both groups was significantly higher, possibly a testament in part to the technology on vehicles being more ‘friendly’ to those outside the vehicle, although the report does not give information about the vehicles involved in each crash so this may not be related.
The Message to all road users whether in a car, van or lorry, on a motorcycle or pushbike, or indeed just walking, we must all take more care and be more responsible for our own safety as well as that of every other road user. The road safety problem we have in Great Britain has to be dealt with by every road user if we are to make a significant difference to road safety, as the Government will never take the necessary step since it would not be a vote winning decision. The roads are there for everyone to share and no one has more right to be there than anyone else. The worst thing that could happen today is that you kill yourself or someone else, and I don’t believe anyone would want that to happen. So be conscious that the actions you choose while driving, whatever they are, that could turn out to be unsafe, will involve a member of someone’s family or a close friend. Make a difference – choose to change.
The full report on road casualties in Great Britain can be downloaded at:

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