Road Safety News

IAM reveals ‘best and worst’ police force areas for road safety performance

Tuesday 22nd September 2015

Derbyshire is the worst performing police area, while Suffolk is the best, according to road casualty data published yesterday (21 Sept) by the IAM.

The IAM stats show the number of KSIs (killed and seriously injured casualties) for each individual police force area for 2014, and the year-on-year percentage change.

Derbyshire has seen the highest rise in KSIs, up 38%, while with a 17% reduction Suffolk saw the largest improvement.

Only 14 areas out of 43 achieved any reduction on 2013, a figure the IAM calls ‘disappointing’. While one area was unchanged (Cambridgeshire), the remaining 28 all saw an increase.

The IAM’s ‘top five worst performing areas’ are:

1. Derbyshire - from 378 to 522 (up 38%)
2. Leicestershire - from 293 to 374 (up 28%)
3. Surrey - from 599 to 735 (up 23%)
4. Wiltshire - from 260 to 314 (up 21%)
5. Cheshire - from 461 to 548 (up 19%)

The ‘top five best performing areas’ are:

1. Suffolk - from 242 to 219 (down 17%)
2. Durham - from 242 to 208 (down 14%)
3. Gwent - from 174 to 149 (down 14%)
4. City of London - from 60 to 55 (down 8%)
5. Metropolitan - from 2,267 to 2,115 (down 7%)

The full table of KSI casualties by police force area is available on the IAM website.

Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer, said: “A one year comparison cannot be taken as an overall trend of what might be happening in any particular area.

“However, 2014 was not a good year and should serve as a wake-up call to every road safety partnership that they are under scrutiny.

“Road safety must remain a priority as public sector spending cuts continue. With official figures putting the cost to society of every fatality at over £1.7m, investment in road safety is money well spent.”

The IAM is calling for a range of measures including: the reintroduction of road safety targets; a ‘greater focus on driver and rider quality’; measures to improve pedestrian safety including better segregation of traffic and vulnerable road users where speeds are high; and campaigns to educate pedestrians ‘as they are most often at fault in crashes’.


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As I have all the casualty data for UK from 1985 to 2011 and graphs of them by police area I agree with the criticisms of the IAM report - their table of best and worst is effectively meaningless in statistical terms and worse than that in the way that it attributes blame to those areas which happened to do badly in 2014 compared to 2013.

I must also draw attention to the spurious £1.7m figure for "cost to society of every fatality". Why spurious? As the DfT itself points out, the the "human" element of £1m or so is in not a cost in the usual sense of the word - it is a notional and subjective "willingness to pay" and should not be described as a cost.

Secondaly, the £600,000 or so "lost output" element is fantasy because it counts as a cost to the State the the wages the fatality no longer receives but fails to offset it by the wages paid his replacement and also includes as a cost to the State the output the fatality can no longer produce but fails to offset it by the output of his replacement. And the same applies to non-fatal casualties.

The implication of the IAM's comment, that spending on road safety is recovered as cash is therefore absurd.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (3) | Disagree (6)

Hmmm, from the comments already made it’s apparent that whilst the figures are correct how they are interpreted and portrayed in the media makes all the difference. I’ll declare my self-interest from the start, as an ex Derbyshire police officer spending my last 10 years of service on the Roads Policing unit, and now being responsible for the ETP element of road safety at Derbyshire County Council.

2013 was Derbyshire’s (and I include Derby City in this) lowest casualty figures for the last 30 years. So making a one year comparison of 2014 to 2013 was always likely to be a challenge for us.

But in 2014 we had the second lowest number of overall casualties recorded in the County, and that was an increase of 33 (1%) over 2013. Comparing that to the national picture of overall casualty increases, I could argue that Derbyshire was one of the better performing areas. What we experienced was a drop in recorded slight casualties and a (38%) increase in KSIs. Comparing 2014 with the 05-09 average we show a 28% reduction.

I’ll resist the temptation to trot out more numbers, as we all aware that statistics can be used and misused, and the IAM graciously acknowledge that ‘a one year comparison cannot be taken as an overall trend of what might be happening’. So what I wonder is the point of the report? The IAM suggest that this ‘should serve as a wake up call to every road safety partnership that they are under scrutiny.’ Really?

Well for my organisation, our Road Safety Partnership, and I’m pretty sure the Police, I can say that we are well aware of the statistics, we are awake to the implications and we are working very hard to reduce them. Oh and we are already subject to public and democratic scrutiny through Elected Members, our Casualty Report, the Police and Crime Commissioner and the members if the public I have frequent contact with.

I think the IAM is a great organisation and I welcome their role in road safety and the contribution they make through their practical and academic work. I applaud their call for a range of measures and that road safety remain a public sector priority, but this report does not help the people working hardest to achieve that.
Matt Pickard, Derbyshire County Council

Agree (20) | Disagree (4)

Anyone wishing to view a comprehensive list of casualties by police force area over more years and with greater detail should look at the Travel Independent web page here:
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (1) | Disagree (7)

If the IAM want to attach significance to police force areas or any other authority's boundaries, they should concentrate on the number of actual collisions and not just the consequences thereof. Theoretically, in a year there could be exactly the same number of collisions in each area (highly unlikely of course) but with varying casualties. What sort of authority would that be a reflection of? Paramedics? Fire & rescue? Local A & E Dep't?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (8) | Disagree (3)

Another way to present it then, is to say that 'in 2014, statistics show that there were numerous recorded collisions causing KSIs, all around the country'. Highlighting the distribution thereof is meaningless as boundaries, whether geographic or administrative are not really relevant. This year, I expect there will be numerous similar collisions around the country as well.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (3)

For clarification, we have added the word 'area' to the headline on this story, but have not made any further changes to the content.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (9) | Disagree (0)

The division of statistics by police force areas was made by the DFT, not by us. We are inferring nothing in relation to the police, as you will see from the quote we provide.
Rodney Kumar, IAM

Agree (10) | Disagree (4)

I wonder what the IAM are thinking of? Why did they not just state that these were the worst authority areas. By their own words they appear to be highlighting the police service for all the failings of other authorities and the general pubic themselves.

Are they not also aware of the fact that people travel from area to area. As such an area like Derbyshire with its Peak District attracts many more than live in the county and therefore can and will show a greater problem with regard to incidents.

We all know that there should be more police officers and traffic patrols as a greater active deterrent but they alone can not and should not bear the brunt of the failings of others.
Bob Craven, Lancs. Space is Safe Campaigner

Agree (17) | Disagree (6)

The 'original' story appears to be the same as the one printed here. It refers several times to 'police force areas'. True, it doesn't accuse the police - but then what is the implication of referencing the areas as police force areas rather than say administrative areas or counties? Are the IAM therefore saying that nothing at all should be inferred from this story?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (14) | Disagree (10)

The IAM would like to point out our original story referred to police force areas - we have never accused the police of anything in connection to these figures. To read our original story please click here:
Rodney Kumar, IAM

Agree (14) | Disagree (8)

"IAM reveals ‘best and worst’ police forces for road safety performance". No. All it shows is changes in recorded KSIs in different counties. Why do the IAM think it's anything to do with the respective police forces? Why not the respective Health Authorities, local Councils, Fire and Rescue, mobile 'phone coverage, one could go on... oh let's not forget the road users themselves of course - perish the thought that they might have been responsible. You might as well conclude that Derbyshire's road users are more accident prone than those from other counties - just as illogical.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (38) | Disagree (9)