The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents welcomed progress towards making Britain’s roads the safest in the world as figures published today revealed new record lows in the number of people killed and injured in crashes.
The figures mean that Britain has met its road safety targets set for 2010, but there is a need to make sure that this trend continues and does not stop or reverse during the next two years.
In 2008, 2,538 people were killed on the roads (down from 2,946 in 2007) and 26,029 people were seriously injured (down from 27,774 in 2007). The total number of road casualties was 230,884 (down from 247,780 in 2007).
However, RoSPA is very concerned that child deaths did not follow this pattern and rose from 121 in 2007 to 124 in 2008.
Pedestrian deaths fell below 600 for the first time (to 572), a reduction of more than a third over the last 10 years (in 1998, 906 pedestrians were killed).
Pedal cyclist deaths fell from 136 in 2007 to 115 in 2008, but there was an increase in the number of cyclists seriously injured from 2,428 in 2007 to 2,450 in 2008.
There were 493 motorcycle user fatalities (down from 588 in 2007), but deaths still remain higher than they were in the mid-1990s.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA head of road safety, said: "Last year saw the lowest number of road deaths since records began. This new record low shows that the fall in road deaths is a trend, not a statistical blip.
"Every reduction in these numbers represents a person who has not been killed or injured and a family which has not suffered the devastation caused by a road accident.
"It is particularly pleasing to see improvements in the safety of vulnerable road users.
"However, it is unacceptable that more children died on the road in 2008 than in 2007. Even though the numbers have fallen significantly over the last 10 years, we need to understand why the latest figures are so bad for child deaths and get back on track to reducing them again.
"Each and every one of us should think about the safety of children and how our personal actions, especially when driving, affect the wellbeing of our most vulnerable road users. We must all play our part in making sure that the number of children killed and injured on the roads this year is much lower than the figures revealed today."
RoSPA’s mission is to save lives and reduce injuries.
Any donation, large or small, will help us to achieve our mission. Please click on www.rospa.com/donate