Our roads are much safer than they were a decade ago, according to statistics from the Department of Transport (DoT).
Last year, the number of casualties caused by road accidents in the UK was 192,910 – 31.3 per cent lower than in 2004, when the figure was up at the 280,840.
There is no definite reason for this decline, but according to the DoT a number of factors may have combined to have a positive impact, including improved safety technology on vehicles, new traffic calming measures and higher awareness of road safety because of drink-driving campaigns.
That being said, the improvement has not been steady – last year there was a small spike in casualties compared to 2013, with the number of people who were either killed or seriously injured rising by four per cent to 24,360. Considering minor road injuries as well as serious ones, the total was 8,823 higher than the year before.
This might be partly because of an increase in traffic on the road, which the DoT estimates went up by two per cent over the 12 month period. But the DoT also suggests it could be because we are more likely to use mobile phones at the wheel, and because powerful cars with higher speeds are becoming more affordable.
Car drivers and pedestrians most at risk
The number of cyclists injured in collisions has gone up every year for the last five years, but the DoT insists they are not the most at risk on our roads. Car drivers were most likely to be injured in a road accident last year, followed by pedestrians.