Road deaths hit five-year high in Britain

Rise in deaths being blamed on phone use and cuts to dedicated traffic police 

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Motoring safety groups are calling for action after figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) showed that 2016 saw the number of people killed on Britain’s roads reach a five-year high.

The annual report released by DfT showed that 1,792 deaths occurred as a result of road traffic accidents in 2016, 4 percent more than the previous year and the largest number since 2011. 

The DfT has insisted the fluctuation is not “statistically significant” but they have been criticised by MPs and motoring groups who have linked the rise to cuts to traffic police.

Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, said of the cuts:

The underfunding of police forces has meant there are a third fewer dedicated traffic police than a decade ago, making enforcement less effective.

The figures also show a year on year rise of accidents related to phone use, with 35 deaths and 137 serious injuries.

To try to combat this growing trend a stricter law was introduced in March 2017 for drivers who use a hand-held device whilst driving, giving them six points on their licence and a £200 fine.

Director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, Steve Gooding, called for more action to halt the increase of road traffic accidents. He said:

These numbers tell a familiar story. Since 2011 there has been next to no progress made in cutting the number of crash deaths.

It is time for the establishment of a road accident investigation branch – similar to the teams we see in the rail and aviation industries – so lessons can be learned and best practice shared across the country to help bring down these stubbornly high figures.

In total, 24,101 people were seriously injured on Britain’s roads in 2016. This represents a 9 per cent rise on the previous year.

John Hassall, a solicitor specialising in road traffic accidents, added:

It is sometimes easy to forget with statistics like these that there are individuals and families whose lives are changing because of a serious injury or death. More needs to be done to combat this.

While some of the statisticians are saying the rise isn’t remarkable, every life lost on our roads is one too many.

Road traffic accidents remain one of the most common forms of incidents in the UK and, in many cases, victims not only suffer from serious physical injury, but and psychological injuries too.

At Percy Hughes & Roberts, we understand that making a road accident claim is a big step, and you are right to take the time to think about your options carefully. If you do decide to claim, we aim to make to whole process as easy as possible.

If you would like to contact our expert road traffic accidents solicitors you can do so by calling 0800 781 3894 or by completing the “Get in touch” form on this site.