We often see first-hand the devastating impact and lasting effect that road traffic accidents have on victims and their families. Each statistic is a life that has been impacted, some with very far-reaching consequences. The more aware people are of the numbers and causes of road deaths and serious injuries, the better-equipped drivers can be on roads to drive safely in order to reduce avoidable causalities.
Road traffic accident statistics
Our Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury team regularly see the long-term effects of a road traffic accident on an individual’s life. The injuries can range from minor orthopaedic ones to severe traumatic brain injuries, not to mention the psychological trauma, which can last a lifetime.
Annual road casualty statistics are published each year by the UK government. The results for 2020 were published in June of last year. It is estimated that in 2020 there were 1,472 reported road deaths and 115,333 casualties, 22,014 of which were serious casualties. These figures are lower than the previous year, however, it is worth noting that for four months of 2020 the UK was in a national lockdown, and road traffic decreased by 21%.
How to avoid road traffic accidents – advice for drivers and cyclists
One of the most common forms of road traffic incidents involves motor vehicles and cyclists, with statistics showing that every year around 10,000 cyclists are killed or seriously injured on British roads.
In 2020, despite the low traffic levels due to the pandemic, cyclist fatalities rose by 40%. Due to their vulnerability, cyclists frequently suffer serious, life-changing injuries.
It is essential for all to be mindful of each other when travelling, Think! A road safety campaign group have put together useful guidance for both drivers and cyclists to ensure the safety of every road user.
|Advice for drivers||Advice for cyclists|
|1. Look out for cyclists, especially when turning – make eye contact if possible so they know you’ve seen them.|
2. Use your indicators – signal your intentions so that cyclists can react.
3. Give cyclists plenty of space when overtaking them, leaving as much room as you would give a car. If there isn’t sufficient space to pass, hold back. Remember that cyclists may need to manoeuvre suddenly if the road is poor, it’s windy or if a car door is opened.
4. Always check for cyclists when you open your car door.
5. Advanced stop lines allow cyclists to get to the front and increase their visibility. You must stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows.
6. Follow the Highway Code including ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights
|1. If a lorry is indicating left, passing on the inside can be dangerous. Hang back at the junction to reduce the risk of a collision.|
2. Ride positively, decisively and well clear of the kerb – look and signal to show drivers what you plan to do and make eye contact where possible so you know drivers have seen you.
3. Avoid riding up the inside of large vehicles, like lorries or buses, where you might not be seen.
4. Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor.
5. Wearing light coloured or reflective clothing during the day and reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark increases your visibility.
6. Follow the Highway Code including observing ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights.
7. Always wear a correctly fitted cycle helmet, which is securely fastened and conforms to current regulations.
How vulnerable are motorcyclists to road traffic accidents?
Due to their vulnerability, motorcyclists frequently suffer serious life-changing injuries. Motorcyclists are roughly 38 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than car occupants per mile ridden. In 2019, 336 motorcyclists died in road collisions in Great Britain.
How safe are smart motorways?
There were 1,752 reported road deaths in 2019, and 25,945 serious injuries reported to the police according to the Department for Transport’s September 2020 Statistical Release.
However, motorways themselves are not considered to be the danger, they are in fact the cause of fewer casualties than local roads in England. The concern with motorways is in relation to ‘all-lane running’ smart motorways, which were introduced in 2014. This type of motorway involves the permanent removal of the hard shoulder to increase capacity in the most environmentally friendly way possible, i.e. without the need to build additional lanes.
Continue reading the full blog here.
Find out more
If you or your family have been affected by a road traffic accident, please contact our team of specialist solicitors on +44 (0)20 7833 4433 to discuss how we may be able to assist, and the road traffic claims process.
To find out more about the different injuries, accidents, and claims that are commonly encountered by our team visit our Medical Mondays hub.