Campaigners and motoring groups have called for action after the number of people killed on Britain’s roads rose by 4% last year to the highest level since 2011.
New annual statistics published by the Department for Transport (DfT) show that there were 1,792 reported road deaths in Great Britain in 2016, compared to 1,730 the previous year.
However DfT officials said the increase was ‘not statistically significant’, a technical term meaning that it was ‘small enough that it can be explained by natural variation over time’.
Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for road safety charity Brake, said: ‘Today’s figures graphically illustrate the daily carnage taking place on roads across Britain. On average, five people continue to lose their lives each and every day – a deeply worrying figure which has not improved for some six years.
‘Progress on road safety has stalled, pressing the need for a road collision investigation branch, similar to those already in existence for air, rail and sea, so that lessons can be learned to prevent future crashes.’
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: ‘Every road user, and certainly all of those working to improve road safety, will view today’s figures with dismay. Every life lost on our roads is surely one too many.
‘The report clearly states that “there is unlikely to be as large falls in casualties as there were earlier on without further significant interventions”. This is surely an admission that more could, and should, be done to save lives.’
The number of people seriously injured on the roads in 2016 was 24,101, which was up 9% on 2015. Officials warned that comparisons with previous years should be made with caution due to changes in police reporting systems.
The combined total of killed and seriously injured (KSI) casualties in 2016 was 25,893, up 8% on the previous year.
Casualties of all severities in 2016 totalled 181,384, around 3% lower than 2015. Officials said this decrease was statistically significant and that the 2016 figure was the lowest on record.