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Road deaths on UK motorways fall in Spring 2012, say DfT

  Friday, 2 November 2012

The number of road deaths on the nation’s highways this Spring fell by almost a fifth in comparison with year-on-year figures, according to provisional Government figures.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has revealed a total of 400 people were killed in reported road accidents across April – June in 2012, an 18 per cent reduction on the 487 recorded deaths for the same period in 2011.

It is also a similar story with regards to serious and slight injuries, with these numbers also decreasing year-on-year. The DfT has suggested the extreme wet weather over this timeframe may have had a bearing on these lower figures.

Slight injuries were down seven per cent at 41,910 while the total casualty figure (killed, seriously injured and slightly injured) fell seven per cent too to 47,880.

Most importantly, the total number of child casualties in Spring was also down by 16 per cent – the biggest decline in more than two decades.

The DfT said in a statement: “In general, single-quarter comparisons should be treated with caution as the data are more variable, and more subject to distortion by short-term factors such as unexpected weather.

“In this context, it should be noted that Q2 2012 (April to June) saw extremely wet weather across England (where rainfall levels were more than double the 1981/2010 average in both April and June).

“There is also evidence that the wet weather may have affected road-user behaviour through reducing traffic speeds. Compared to the same months in 2011, observed average speeds on the local A-road network were 4 per cent lower in April 2012 and 1 per cent lower in June 2012.”

A note of caution has been sounded by other motoring figureheads, especially with the encouraging figures said to be attributed to abnormal wet weather conditions.

Neil Greig, director of policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “The drop in road casualties is really good news but the Department for Transport admits that it is likely to be linked to this year’s wet weather. We shouldn’t rely on a few months of dodgy weather to get cyclists and motorcyclists casualties down.”

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