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When will we see real action to reduce road fatalities in Britain?

George Canning said “I can prove anything by statistics, except the truth”.


With that in mind, what are we to make of the latest set of accident statistics recently released by the Department for Transport: Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain for 2014? Tragically, they convey a 4% increase in road deaths over 2013 at 1,775 fatalities, as well as a 5% increase in the number of seriously-injured people on our roads.

Pedestrian deaths saw an alarming 12% increase to 446 overall, largely by those most vulnerable groups, too (i.e. in the 0-15 and Over 60 age groups).

And when you drill into these figures further, we also see that 20mph and 30mph roads in built-up areas were key to the increases.

Is there a correlation here? Is it partially down to the fact that many areas have changed from a 30mph limit down to a 20mph limit?

As leading providers of road safety solutions, vehicle detection systems, traffic data solutions and intelligent transport systems, these latest statistics give us cause for concern.

And what has been done to make road users aware, and educate them on this reduction in the limit or to change their behaviour? How much did we consider human behaviour when making these changes?

The answer in many cases is remarkably little – just changing the numbers on road signs, which most people take for granted anyway.

The report clearly tries to downplay these increases by introducing various statistics and comparing today’s road to the average over the 2005-2009 period, as well as clouding the issue by using the weather as justification for the increase.

Whilst it’s true that it these figures do represent the third lowest annual total on record, we are still not making a dent in the horrific tally of nearly five deaths every day on British roads.

Our own research with customers in the last few months has highlighted that over the last 2-3 years, but last year especially, the politics of the pothole and pressure from road users to fix our broken roads really became their all-encompassing priority, and any thoughts about spending money on ensuring road safety was completely eradicated.

And we suspect that potholes themselves are likely to be a major factor in many accidents.

Barely a day goes by when you don’t see cars, vans, HGVs and even cyclists and motorcyclists swerving to avoid some of these vast craters in our road surface – and how often has this forced other road users to dangerously react to this sudden swerving action, then being at least a partial reason for an accident?

There’s no statistic for that. Whatever the reasons, the focus has to change. Human life is too precious to be seen as just another statistic.

And we are not alone in this thinking.

Many road safety groups such as and Brake are seeing similar patterns and pushing for change.

As Ed Morrow, campaigns officer for Brake, said recently: “The government must take the bull by the horns on this, and it can start by reintroducing ambitious casualty reduction targets, with an ultimate aim of reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads to zero. Every road death causes unimaginable human suffering, and every road death is preventable.”

What do you think we should do? Here at Clearview Traffic, as a leading road safety and traffic safety systems and products provider, we’d really value your opinion and to hear your ideas: please leave us a comment by filling in the Comment box below the blog or contact us here.

Author: |Date Published: August 2015

Links: Route Safety

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