Road Safety News

Road deaths and injuries up in year to 30 June 2014

Thursday 6th November 2014

Road deaths, injuries and casualties per vehicle mile all increased in the year ending June 2014, compared with the previous 12 months.

The increases are all revealed in provisional estimates for Q2 2014 (April-June) published today by the DfT.

In the 12 months ending 30 June 2014 road deaths increased by 3% to 1,760, KSI casualties rose by 4% to 24,580, and there were 193,290 reported road casualties of all severities, an increase of 4%.

Motor traffic levels rose by 1.7% compared with the 12-month period ending June 2013, and the overall casualty rate per vehicle mile increased by 2%.

In terms of road user type, in the 12-month period there was a small decrease of 0.4% in pedestrian KSIs. However, KSI casualties increased for car users (4%), pedal cyclists (10%) and motorcyclists (7%). While child KSIs (0-15yrs) were unchanged, overall child casualties increased by 6%. However, child pedestrian KSIs fell by 5%.

Looking specifically at Q2 2014 (April-June), there were 440 road deaths, unchanged from the same quarter in 2013. However, KSIs and slightly injured casualties increased by 7% and 9% respectively.

The DfT’s quarterly provisional estimates are published to allow emerging trends to be monitored between the publication of annual figures.




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With respect, I think one of Idris's links was mis-copied: Al Gullon's webpages:

I also respect the desire for scientific evidence to show the effects of reduced speed limits (such as 20mph), but must concede that it has all been done before, though not so much from science, as from observing trends in vehicle miles/kilometres to accident rates. Those pushing to ever constrain speeds in seeking to reduce accidents, are like dogs barking at clouds - the weather will not change, but you will annoy the neighbours.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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I agree about the reduction on road patrols, your views on some but not all road safety campaigns. Your comments on the important relationship between drivers' attitudes and crash rates tends to support Al Gullon's view that it is variations in those attitudes that cause crash numbers to rise during booms and fall during busts. But we will not be able to keep track of such things without the best statistical data available.

There is no obligation to report non-injury crashes to the police as long as those involved swap insurance details. Those crashes are not recorded in Stats19 at all, though they may be recorded for insurance and liability reasons. At least since the 2008 Transcom Report the DfT have, as Duncan suggested here, routinely compared Stats19 SI records with those of hospitals, fire & rescue and the Motor Insurance Bureau to improve accuracy. Last time I looked they stated that reporting levels of SI had fallen from 37% to 28% (which explains most of the above disparity in trends). I have seen no reports for slight injury rates it is likely that those reporting levels will be lower still. Very few road fatalities indeed are not made known to the police.

A comment here in another thread made me check the average K per fatal collision and SI per serious collision. Both are close to 1.1, and have hardly changed for years. There is therefore no meaningful difference between accident and casualty trends, presumably because the variable consequences you describe average out.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

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Have to agree with Hugh on this one! Maybe the best source of actual collision data could be found by asking the car body repairers or the motor insurers. If the data on process and system failures is incomplete then any actions taken on that incomplete data will be significantly flawed.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

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Not ignoring the excellent Gullon hypothesis at all Idris as my response was about where to measure the outputs from the system. The economy may well have an effect on the accident 'rate', but not neccessarily on the KSI figures. I'm sure we are all aware of road accident scenes where the parts of various vehicles are strewn everywhere, but not one person has suffered even the tiniest injury. We are also aware of those accidents where the vehicles involved are practically unmarked and yet the riders/drivers are as dead as doornails. It's the events that happen after the unplanned energy exchange that generate the KSI figures, not the events beforehand. Of course the greater the number of unplanned energy exchanges then it stands to reason that the KSI figure is likely to increase, but that is by no means a given.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratfored on Avon

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According to the DfT, more accidents (both injury and non-injury) ae not reported to the Police than are reported - by a sizeable margin - so concluding that KSIs have gone up, down or stayed the same based only on reported accidents would seem to be misleading. In absolute terms, we simply dont know. Actual fluctuations could simply be being absorbed by fluctuations in non- reporting, but by varying degress and not necessarily in proportion.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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You can, and people often do, get unduly embroiled in the detail of statistics. It doesn't take a monkey to understand that a good part of the issue is that people do not feel accountable for their behavior and therefore their behavior gets worse with the result you get more crashes and more get killed and injured. Part of the issue, in my view, relates to the general reduction in traffic patrols. Most RS campaigns that I have seen are more or less like headless chickens and do not address the core issues. When they do things will change, and change dramatically. But that is only the viewpoint of someone who has spent well over thirty years teaching people how to reduce their vulnerability to crashes. Talking recently to the head of a RS unit revealed that the government are scared of going head to head with the real issue. If that is the case they have no one to blame but themselves for the statistics.
Nigel Albright, TAUNTON.

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With respect you are both missing the elephant in the room, although I have pointed it out several times in this forum. "It's the econony, stupid" (Bill Clinton circa 1992)

The worst fatality trend since the late 1960's and the worst K/10bn veh km trend since veh km data began in 1950, coincided with the longest ecomic boom we have ever seen, 1992 to 2007. The same applied to SI though falling reporting levels hid it at that time.

The steepest falls in a very long time, from 2007/8 to 2009/10 coincided with the worst recession since WW2. Now we see a plateau again, coinciding with the economic recovery and (a very good leading indicator of economic confidence a year or two ahead of GDP) record sales of new cars.

You will find relevant graphs fromn 1950 to 2010 at but the credit for identifying these close relationships, not just here but across many countries, goes to Al Gullon of Ottawa, whose website provides much more information and contact details.

Perhaps readers will pay more attention, instead of floundering around in the dark, by reading Al's work instead of my few words.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

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The best way to understand why the KSI rates rise and fall is by recognising that the KSI figure is dependent on the interactions between a great many systems rather than as the result of failures in just one system. The road transport system itself is the primary system the output from which is going to be either a successfully completed journey or one that has ended in an accident of some sort. The accident or more properly the unplanned energy exchange, marks the end of the road transport system itself and the start of a vast complexity of other interacting systems. The road transport system essentially delivers the energies that then have to be managed by all the subsequent systems. The KSI figures therefore are the result of how all these subsequent systems work and interact and not as a result of failures in the primary road transport system itself.

To get a grip on this we need to look at a concept called defences in depth which are the various barriers that we erect to prevent an unplanned energy exchange from happening in the first place. These defences run in descending order of effectiveness as follows. Skill-Rules-Knowledge-Active Intervention-Luck. Once all these defences have been breached then unplanned energy exchange is the only possible output. After the unplanned energy exchange similar defences are brought into play, but with each set of barriers being part of each of the agencies that is subsequently involved in the process. One of these agencies is the vehicle itself, another might be the Fire Brigade, another the NHS, another the Air Ambulance and so on and so forth encompassing every possible contributor to the final outcome.

The difficulty with knowing why KSI figures rise and fall is because of the vastness and complexity of the interactions that take place after the unplanned energy exchange which are nothing whatsoever to do with the road transport system itself.

To solve this somewhat intractable problem the simple solution is to measure the actual output from the road transport system which is of course the number of unplanned energy exchanges or accidents or collisions or call them what you will. If you have a count of the accidents then that helps you to identify whether the KSI figures are rising and falling due to failures in the road transport system or due to failures in the interactions of the post accident systems.

Our aim in the road safety industry should therefore be to reduce the number of unplanned energy exchanges rather than making vain attempts at changing the KSI figures. Of course that should not stop us from assisting the many post collision agencies to up their game so that survival rates will be dramatically improved. However our energies will be best spent on those things that happen before any collision rather than anything that happens after it.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

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I haven't contributed to the discussion in relation to my blog article as it would interrupt the debate between you and Hugh but I am assuming your comment below is in relation to the factors I discuss in that article.

Just to clarify, the article suggests that weather and the economic situation don't explain the recent slowing of the general trend. These were potential explanations supplied by the DfT in RRCGB, which I concluded might contribute to some of the changes in trend but are definitely not the whole story.

You are perfectly correct that it is difficult to determine why rates go down one year and up another (which was the point of my article - apologies if that was missed!) as there is such a combination of factors affecting the system: the road environment, the vehicles used on the network and the way in which people use the system.

Casualty reduction rates have slowed since 2010 and I think it is our duty to try and explain what is occurring when it becomes evident that it isn't a 'statistical blip'. I agree that it is far from clear why casualty rates have slowed and so we need to continue to explore all possible factors. As someone on here who often presents an alternative viewpoint, I would be interested in your opinions of what is currently happening with the rates, if indeed you think it is cause for concern at all.
Tanya Fosdick, Road Safety Analysis

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Wonder what excuses everybody will come up with for the increase? Weather? Economic variables? If we have no idea why the rate goes down in one year then we'll have no idea why the rate goes up again in another. However if this is not the case then the rise in casualties is easily explainable.
Duncan MacKillop, Startford on Avon

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