UK road deaths rise for first time since 2017

car crash

More than 1700 people lost their lives on the road last year

1711 people died last year as traffic numbers hit pre-pandemic levels, 328 billion vehicle miles being travelled

UK road deaths rose for the first time since 2017 in 2022, with 1711 people losing their lives, a government report has revealed.

Loss of control was the biggest killer, at 417 deaths, followed by a driver failing to look (382), careless, reckless or hurried driving (373) and a driver breaking the speed limit (337).

The figures, released by the Department for Transport (DfT), also show that 28,031 people were seriously injured – meaning they needed hospital treatment – on UK roads.

Across the year, 76% of fatalities and 62% of casualties of all severities – from slightly injured to killed – were male.

This near-mirrors 2019’s 1752 deaths (down 2%) and 30,144 serious injuries (down 3%) as traffic numbers hit pre-pandemic levels for the first time, 328 billion vehicle miles being travelled in 2022.

These latest numbers are also a rise of 158 deaths and 2139 serious injuries on 2021, although mitigating circumstances come in the form of a three-month Covid lockdown at the start of that year.

As in previous years, car occupants were involved in the most accidents in 2022, with 74,379 casualties, 788 of them fatal (up 7% on 2019). ]

Motorcyclist casualties were also up by 4% to 16,943, which included 350 deaths.

Pedestrian deaths, however, were down 18% to 788 and casualties down 11% to 19,327. 

Fewer cyclists were killed, too, at 91, while casualties were down 11% to 15,693.

This left the UK with the joint-fourth least deaths per million citizens globally, at 26, with only Norway (21), Sweden (22) and Iceland (23) safer. The list was topped by the US, with 127 deaths per million.

The figures also detailed where the incidents took place. Of last year’s 135,480 casualties, 5309 (100 deaths) were on motorways, 44,389 (1018) were on rural roads and 85,760 (593) were on urban roads.

Responding to the figures, RAC road safety spokesperson Rod Dennis called on the government to ramp up efforts to tackle preventable deaths, such as drivers being distracted or speeding.

“Confirmation that last year saw a rise in the number of casualties on our roads – and that men are so much more likely to be involved – is a chilling reminder that there remains so much work to do be done to improve road safety in the UK, even if statistically we have some of the safest roads in Europe,” he said.

“It’s time the government turned the dial up on tackling these issues, which, while complex, result in hundreds of people losing their lives every year. 

“We also continue to urge the government to treat this issue with the utmost seriousness by reintroducing casualty-reduction targets, which were scrapped in 2010.”

Source: Autocar

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