Given the increases in safety technology and crash avoidance systems, it may be viewed as a surprise that figures released in the last week have shown a considerable rise in road casualties of all severities, including those known as KSIs – “killed and seriously injured”, to the 12 month period ending in September 2016.
Provisional statistics released by the Department for Transport recorded that there were 182,560 casualties of all severities in the period, which was an increase of 4% on the previous year.
Of even greater concern was that the figure for KSI rose by 6% on the previous year to 25,160.
Amongst the bad news, there were some encouraging signs. The number of road deaths at 1,810, had increased on the previous year, but at a level which was statistically insignificant.
Also, the Department for Transport estimated that there was a 1.4% rise in motor traffic levels in the year to September 2016. When that increase is applied to the number of casualties on the road overall, it does seem that the overall casualty rate per vehicle mile fell by around 5%.
Children remain a vulnerable group, and amongst those aged 0-15 the KSI casualties increased by 22% in the third quarter of 2016.
Some commentators have suggested that the relatively static picture on road deaths, but the increase in overall casualties, might be as a result of greater safety features and ever improving medical care meaning that more victims of road traffic collisions are surviving their injuries, but still means that safety on our roads is an increasing cause of concern.
Philip Edwards, a Serious Injury Partner with Clarke Willmott said:-
We have seen so many initiatives to improve road safety, both in technical advances and campaigns, and yet still road casualties rise. As always we must look behind the statistics and at the real human stories of the loss of loved ones, and of life changing catastrophic injuries, and to realise we must all do what we can to reduce the number of KSIs in the UK. A joined up approach from Government, Local Authorities, road safety groups and local communities will usually result in positive change in this field, and I would urge everyone with an interest in improving road safety to get involved, and to campaign and lobby about matters of concern locally and nationally”