Brake, the road safety charity, has welcomed the slight drop in deaths and serious injuries on our roads, but is calling for more to be done to speed up the process of reducing casualties and fatalities. Five families are still getting that devastating knock on the door every day to say their loved one is never coming home.
The campaigning charity says its ambition of achieving ‘vision zero’ – no more deaths and serious injuries on our roads, is still some way off. Brake is calling on the government to reintroduce ambitious casualty reduction targets, to keep the fightback against road crashes moving in the right direction.
There has been a welcome reduction in the numbers of pedestrians and cyclists killed. The number of pedestrian’s killed dropped by eight per cent last year, but that was still 409 lives needlessly lost. The number of cyclists who died on our roads fell by 12 per cent – but that was still 100 lives ended too soon.
Not all vulnerable road users have seen their safety improve though; there has been a worrying increase in the number of motorcyclists killed, up eight per cent to 365.
There has also been a slight increase in the number of child fatalities up two per cent to 54. More than a third of child casualties were pedestrians and almost a third occurred between 3pm and 5pm.
Though the numbers are small there are early indications that introducing 20mph limits appear to reduce road deaths. The number of people killed on 20 mph roads in 2015 fell from 28 to 14. This is why Brake is repeating its call for the default urban speed limit to be reduced from 30mph to 20mph.
Worryingly, vehicle traffic has risen by almost two per cent in the last year, meaning as well as the increased danger of crashes, we are seeing increased pollution. Much of this increase is being attributed to light goods vehicles, many running on diesel, which of course we have now learned is much more damaging to the environment than previously claimed.
Lucy Amos, of Brake, said: “While we welcome the reduction in road deaths and serious injuries in 2015, the government figures released this week reveal the danger of complacency. Although slight reductions have been achieved, we must remember that no road death is acceptable and we should not compromise when it comes to people’s lives and the safety of our roads.”