According to the 2017 Department for Transport’s annual report, 2017 was one of the worst years for UK drivers. More than 1,700 deaths were reported on the UK roads, over 24,000 serious injuries and almost 171,000 total casualties of different severities. But what leads to these events? While for some of these events, natural variations are the answer, for most of them, the state of the roads in the Kingdom and other variables are at the root of the issue. Below is more data on the phenomenon and some solutions that might prevent further crashes on the UK roads.
Fatalities and Road Injuries in UK Road Accidents in 2017
Almost 1,800 people were killed in road accidents in the UK, in 2017. Almost 25,000 serious injuries were reported in similar road events. Please take note that these numbers are as reported to police stations. Not all car accidents have to be reported to the police since the new reporting system is in force. The numbers might be higher than those reported. On the same principle, serious injuries in previous years might have been reported as slight injuries, so the numbers during those years might also be inaccurate. The number of slight injuries in 2017, across the UK, reached almost 145,000.
Casualties by Road User Type Differ, Outlining Some of the Most Vulnerable Categories
Car casualties seem to accumulate the highest numbers. Car occupants’ deaths account for 44% of the total number of road deaths. In 2017, over 700 deaths were registered among car occupants. Pedestrians seem to be the next vulnerable group. Over 470 deaths occurred in pedestrians when using the roads in the Kingdom.
In motorcycle users, almost 350 deaths occurred in the same time span. Cyclists account for only 6% of the deaths registered on the UK roads (100 deaths). However, this is a conclusion based on the absolute number of deaths and is irrelevant when it comes to identifying the most vulnerable road user type. The casualty rates referred to as casualties per mile travelled will outline the fact that pedestrians and pedal cyclists are the most vulnerable.
The Roads are One Major Culprit
The roads in the Kingdom are the most congested in Europe, according to a traffic study conducted in more than 100 EU cities. Grand Britain struggles with an embarrassing number of 20,300 traffic hotspots, significantly more than those identified in other Western European countries like Germany and France. The UK Government seems to pump money into the railroad system, rather than the public roads, but for the first time in decades, the Government will allocate over £200m to decreasing road congestion rates.
This phenomenon is rather unexpected, considering the fact that there are more miles travelled by road in the UK than by rail. And while huge amounts are pumped into railroad modernization and maintenance, the state of the public roads is slowly decaying.
A Growing Number of Personal Vehicles and Dropping Gas Prices
While the costs of public transport are slowly rising, the drop of price in petrol products makes more UK residents rely heavily on their personal vehicles. However, not all those vehicles are properly equipped with wireless reversing cameras for HGVs, as recommended and some of those lack completely basic safety features that might prevent injuries and accidents on the road.
Over the past decade, public transport fares increased by 75%. This is a contributor to the phenomenon, but also the fact that petrol prices are dropping continuously. As compared to the rest of the European countries, the petrol prices in Britain are sensitively lower. Personal vehicles have, thus, became the cheapest transportation mean for UK residents.
If the trend is maintained, given the state of the roads and the lack of proper and reliable HGV safety equipment and technologies installed on vehicles, we are due to experience more accidents and injuries on Britain’s roads.
Accident Claims Reached an Impressive 75% of the Personal Injury Market
But these aren’t the only tell-tale signs of a growing number of incidents on the UK roads. In 2017, the UK injury claim market reached a whopping £250m, with a total number of claims connected to road incidents passing 70%. The load of work for personal injury practitioners grew significantly in 2017. However, it may be due to the fact that more victims start to realize their rights and may not be highly relevant when discussing the rise in road accident numbers.
Children and Young Adults are Also Venerable Road Travellers
Unfortunately, children aged 15 or under were also some of the most vulnerable travellers on the UK roads. In 2017, 48 children knew their deaths on the roads in Great Britain. However, according to the Report released by the UK government at the end of 2018, there cannot be identified a certain trend regarding those, since the numbers fluctuated a lot between 2010 and 2017. Child fatalities are mainly pedestrians and car occupants. The number of victims in the first category was 22 and car child occupants’ fatalities reached 20 deaths, in 2017.
In the young adult category (17 to 24 years old), the number of road accident victims dropped a little, but it is still high. From 299 deaths in 2016, it has decreased to 279 in 2017. However, the GB population in the same category has decreased by 3% over the past few years. In 2017, there were 32,810 younger casualties of all severities.
While road accidents are still due to take place in the UK and countries from all around the world, each driver can bring their fair contribution to lowering those numbers by taking all the necessary precautions when using their personal vehicles. Installing dedicated technologies and systems on personal cars, such as rear-end cameras and sensors will contribute to lowering these statistics. Remember that most casualties occurred on rural roads, not the main arteries. Having the necessary safety systems up to date on your personal vehicle might save you and your life and your family’s life.