Department for Transport figures show that the 14% drop in road deaths was echoed by a 14% drop in motor vehicle traffic over the same period, highlighting the impact of the first national lockdown in March 2020. This shows that while the number of road deaths declined, the fatality rate on the roads in Britain remained the same.
Brake, the road safety charity, is calling for increased government funding for its National Road Victim Service, to ensure that it can continue to care for those bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes, with thousands of families still being affected every year. Information about the service can be found at www.brake.org.uk/victim-support
The charity is also calling for the government to be bolder in its approach to road safety and to adopt a Vision Zero methodology, with targets to eliminate death and serious injury from the roads for good. The road safety campaigners are also calling on the government to improve road collision investigation, as outlined in a recent RAC Foundation report, to ensure that those in power have the best data to make informed policy and investment decisions about road safety.
Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake said: “A drop in the number of road deaths should always be welcome but these figures must be viewed with caution, with the decline in road deaths coinciding with the March lockdown of last year.
“Lockdown and the pandemic have provided a unique opportunity to build back better and improve the safety of our roads for years to come. The government must grasp this opportunity and introduce targets to eliminate death and serious injury from the roads for good, a Vision Zero approach which is already in progress in London and planned for Scotland.
“In the UK, thousands of families are touched by the devastation of death and serious injury on the road every year. The National Road Victim Service provides crash victims with vital emotional and practical support, from within 24 hours after a crash, but the service is in need of sustainable funding from government to safeguard its future.”