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Road Fatalities on the Rise

View profile for Malcolm Underhill
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After decades of a reduction in the number of fatalities on Britain’s roads, recent statistics reveal that the number of fatalities may now be on the rise. There are likely to be a number of reasons for this, but whatever they are, road fatalities and serious injuries, particularly brain injuries, arising from road accidents devastates individuals and their families. Therefore, we must all play our part in reducing serious and fatal injuries on our roads. Although financial compensation can go some way to meet the consequences of fatal accidents and brain injuries, there is no real compensation for the loss of a loved one, of a family member. An individual is irreplaceable.

The statistics

Since the 1960s the number of road deaths in Britain has been in decline, from around 8000 in the 1960s to, below 2000 fatalities in the 2010s. Unfortunately, in 2018 there were 1,784 deaths, an increase from the record low of 1713, in 2013.

The number of deaths from drink-driving have also increased, to 240 in 2018, from 200, 3 years earlier.

The number of drivers and passengers fatally injured, who failed to wear seat belts is also on the increase. The Department for Transport’s figures show failing to wear a seatbelt accounted for 27% of road deaths in 2017, an increase from 2014, when it was 21%.

Also noteworthy is that during the lockdown there was a 71% increase in drivers caught speeding in London, compared with a period prior to the declaration of the Coronavirus pandemic

More than 27,000 people are killed or seriously injured each year in road accidents, while around 147,500 suffer minor injuries

Reason for the increase in road fatalities

There is unlikely to be a single reason to explain the increase in the number of road fatalities. The Department for Transport and the Home Office are to call for evidence to address these issues. The Department for Transport announced a review of roads policing in 2019, although that has not yet been taken forward, possibly due to the pandemic.    

One of the reasons for the increase in fatalities may be the reduction in road traffic police, as figures published in 2017 reveal that the number of road traffic police in the UK has dropped by almost a third in 10 years from 2007, from 3,766 to 2,643 (2017).

 The New Normal

Whatever the reasons for the increase, we must all play our part, taking care and being extra vigilant when we get behind the wheel.

I also agree with Det Supt Cox, who said, he wanted speeding to be seen "as socially unacceptable" as drinking and driving.

He went on to say, "I see more fatal and more life-changing collisions through speed than I do through drink-driving.   I think the social conscience needs to change around it to address the issue of speeding because there's not sufficient social condemnation of someone speeding."

A change in culture is required on the part of all drivers, and this must become the new normal.

At IBB, our personal injury team, led by Malcolm Underhill, has the expertise and knowledge to advise and represent those who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury and wish to claim compensation for negligence. To talk about how we might be able to help, please phone us on 0333 123 9099, email us at  or fill in our contact form.  Any discussions you have with us will be in the strictest of confidence.

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