Last month, the Department for Transport revealed the number of people killed or seriously injured on UK roads to the year ending September 2016, and it's not pretty reading.
25,160 were killed or seriously injured in that time, which works out at five people every day. Worse, the figure represents a 6 per cent increase on the previous year, with an 8 per cent increase in the number of children (0-15) killed or seriously injured. The figure includes an increase of 10 per cent in car occupant casualties and 5 per cent more motorbike casualties.
In 2015, the Government committed to a Vision Zero policy – a future where there are no road deaths or serious injuries on our roads. Quite simply, the figures are heading in the wrong direction, which suggests the policy is not working
Brake, the road safety charity puts the blame on a diminishing lack of interest in road safety policy, less urgency and fewer resources, the consequences of which are becoming increasingly apparent as road casualty figures begin to rise.
The charity is now calling on policymakers to reintroduce ambitious road casualty targets, increase investment in infrastructure and vehicle development. It also says that the police need more resources to enforce the law
The charity is also concerned that the Government’s provisional estimates suggest that a “statistically significant” increase in the numbers killed and seriously injured in a crash where one or more of the drivers were under the influence of alcohol. It says that the number of collisions involving alcohol increased by 2% in the same period.
Brake is asking the Government to increase the resources available to the police to enable them to crack-down on dangerous drivers who choose to get behind the wheel when they are over the limit.
The number of casualties revealed by the DoT is quite simply wasteful destruction. It reveals a widespread problem that must be addressed if we are to keep our road users safe.
Generally, when a cyclist, pedestrian, motorbiker or driver is killed on the roads, someone is left behind grieving. In the case of those seriously injured on the roads, our team knows only too well the pain and devastation serious injury causes and the long climb back to recovery and rehabilitation most face.
Our roads are becoming busier and more crowded and therefore more dangerous. The cost of casualties is already too high. It's time the Government took back its promise, rethought it and then reissued it with meaning.