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Road deaths drop to record low

The number of road deaths in Great Britain has dropped to an all-time low. That’s according to figures from the Reported Road Casualties 2013 Annual Report.

1,713 people were killed in road accidents reported to police in 2013 ─ a drop of two per cent compared with 2012 and the lowest figure since national records began in 1926. It is, in fact, half as many as in 2000. This is despite an increase of 0.4 per cent in traffic levels, which rose to 304 billion miles in 2013.

The number of people seriously injured in a road accident was 21,657, a six per cent decrease on 2012. Casualties reported to the police, meanwhile, dropped by six per cent in 2013 to 183,670.

Pedal cyclists came out better in 2013, although a drop from 118 deaths to 109 means there is still work to be done when it comes to protecting our two-wheeled brethren. The Department for Transport said the number had fluctuated between 100 and 120 for the last six years.

The largest increase in figures came from motorcycle fatalities on motorways, which rose by 250 per cent from four to 14 cases. Fatalities on motorways increased overall by 14 per cent, from 88 to 100 cases.

Child pedestrian fatalities also rose from 20 to 26 ─ a 30 per cent spike. There was also a five per cent increase in the number of accidents involving death or serious injuries in ‘deprived areas’. It is thought there were 230 drink-drive deaths in 2012, around the same number for the previous two years.

The report notes that weather no doubt played a role in the 2012 figures being higher than usual. It was the second wettest year on record, the reported pointed out, explaining that ‘some caution is needed in interpreting changes in casualties between years over the period 2011-2013’.

Neil Greig of Road safety organisation, The Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “It’s worrying that motorways have seen an increase in deaths, which is only partly explained by the increase in traffic on them – it is vital the government keeps a close eye on these figures as the Highway Agency rolls out its programme of wide-spread hard-shoulder running as opposed to proper motorway widening.”

“Driver error was once again the top cause of crashes and the IAM believe that its courses can help reduce this figure but we need the partnership of the insurance industry and the government to help us deliver better drivers and riders,” Greig added.

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