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Alarming rise in road casualty figures "needs urgent action"
The government has been urged to do more to combat rising road casualty figures and place greater emphasis on implementing road safety measures.
Martin James, a road traffic collisions specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP, said that the most recent government statistics had revealed an alarming increase in the numbers of those killed and injured on British roads for the first time in 17 years.
“Road deaths have been decreasing each year on average by 9 per cent since 2004, with a 17 per cent dip in the numbers of people killed in 2010,” said Martin, a partner with the firm. “After such a steady decline in road casualty figures, along with years of progress made in addressing road safety, it is a huge cause for concern that we are now seeing such a dramatic rise in the numbers of people killed or maimed on our roads.”
The figures released at the end of June refer to personal injury accidents occurring on public roads and footways last year, that were known to the police.
In 2011, road deaths increased by 3% with serious injuries increasing by 2%, meaning 51 more people died and 462 more were seriously injured than in 2010. A significant rise in casualties affecting so-called vulnerable road users was recorded with a 12% rise in the numbers of those killed on foot, while a 5% rise in those injured meant 254 more pedestrians suffered serious injuries than in 2010. While cyclist deaths decreased by 4%, a 16% rise in non-fatal incidents meant a staggering additional 425 serious injuries were sustained.
“These latest figures are a sobering reminder of the need to make road safety a priority,” said Martin. “The government needs to reprioritise road casualty reduction and reinstate the national reduction targets that they so ill-advisedly abandoned last year. We need far more ambition shown by policy makers to demonstrate that the government is unremittingly committed to bringing road casualty rates down and taking the necessary decisive action needed to target priority areas such as young driver education and drink and drug driving.
“In addition, the government needs to be seen to be implementing radical measures to protect vulnerable road users, especially children,” he added, “by investing in and encouraging widespread 20mph limits in urban areas particularly around schools, shops and homes, so that people can walk and cycle safely in their communities without having to worry about dangerous drivers.
“Traffic policing needs to be made a national policing priority,” said Martin. “It is crucial that policy makers wake up to the fact that successful road safety measures are an investment, and that by promoting such measures, they are in fact contributing to a reduction in costs to families, the emergency services and the NHS as well as helping to combat the unacceptably grim tally of five deaths and 65 serious injuries that occur on our roads each and every day.”
How can Fentons help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of road traffic collisions.
If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.
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