Child road death total is rising


Published: Thursday 5th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The annual figure for child deaths and serious injuries on the roads has risen for the first time in 20 years.

The number of children (under 16) killed or seriously injured (KSI) on Britain’s roads in the year ending in September increased by 3% compared with the 12 months to September 2013, provisional Government figures showed.

Releasing the statistics, the Department for Transport (DfT) said child KSIs rose in each quarter of 2014 in comparison with the same periods in 2013.

The department said: “These increases have now resulted in the first rise in rolling-year comparisons in child KSIs since the year ending March 1995.”

The DfT figures also showed an overall rise in road casualties in the 12 months ending September 2014 compared with the previous year.

This prompted calls from motoring and road safety groups for the Government to take action, with the Institute of Advanced Motorists pointing to cuts in traffic police numbers and in road safety spending as possible factors.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said KSIs fell last summer compared with summer 2013, while the DfT said it was very hard to identify an overall trend in the figures.

Today’s provisional figures from the DfT not only gave the rolling-year figures but also those for last summer (July to September).

Comparing the 12-month period ending September 2014 with the year ending September 2013:

:: Total child casualties rose 6%;

:: Total deaths, at 1,730, were up 1% and KSIs were up 4%;

:: Slight injuries rose 5%;

:: Total pedal cyclist casualties rose by 8% and total motorcyclist casualties rose by 6%.

The only cheer for road safety campaigners was the fact that, compared with summer 2013, figures for summer 2014 showed a 4% dip in deaths and a 2% fall in KSIs while the slight-injury figure was practically unchanged.

Mr Goodwill said: “Britain’s roads are still among the safest in the world and there are 40% fewer road deaths per year than a decade ago.

“The number of casualties fell in this quarter (July to September 2014) compared to the same period in 2013. There remains a significant long-term decline in casualties. We are determined to do more to reduce these figures, working with the police and other agencies, such as promoting road awareness through our THINK! campaign.”

The Institute of Advanced Motorists said: “These figures reflect our view that cuts in visible policing and road safety spending has had an impact.”

The RAC said it was “alarming to see that years of progress on road safety appears to have come to an abrupt halt”, while the AA said the latest figures “do not make for happy reading”.

Road safety charity Brake said the casualty increases were “the tragic result of a failure of ambition”.

The DfT said: ” It is too early to say at this stage if this marks the end of the long-term downward trend in child KSI casualties, or if it is as a result of short-term factors.”

Shadow roads minister Richard Burden said the figures were “alarming”.

He went on: ” David Cameron promised to protect front-line policing, but we now know that there are 16,701 fewer police officers on the streets than in 2010.

“Police chiefs and road safety campaigners are warning that reductions in police numbers have forced the police to retreat from Britain’s motorways and local roads, removing a vital deterrent against dangerous driving and crashes.

“With years of progress on road safety increasingly being undermined, the Government must now admit that it was wrong to axe targets to cut deaths and serious injuries on our roads.”

Published: Thursday 5th February 2015 by The News Editor

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