Road deaths in the UK fell to a record low last year. A total of 1713 people were killed in 2013, down two per cent on the fatality rate in 2012, while the number of people seriously injured dropped by six per cent year on year to 21,657.
This was despite an overall increase in traffic of 0.4 per cent between 2012 and 2013.
The statistics, released by the Department for Transport, also revealed that 46 per cent (785) of the road deaths were among the occupants of cars, 19 per cent (331) were motorcyclists, 23 per cent (398) were pedestrians and six per cent cyclists. The DfT said the one per cent rise in motorcycle deaths was the first increase since 2006.
Encouragingly, the number of child fatalities on the roads fell by nine per cent from 2012 to 2013, down to the lowest level since records began in 1979. The result is remarkable considering the huge rise in traffic volumes over the past three decades.
The DfT figures also show that 52 per cent of road fatalities occurred in ‘non-built-up’ areas, reflecting the greater risk associated with a combination of higher speeds and numerous tight bends. Just six per cent of fatalities occurred on motorways, which, on a per-mile-travelled basis, make them by far the safest roads.
Compared with the road death average recorded between 2005 and 2009, motorway deaths have fallen 42 per cent, a figure that reflects the great strides made in vehicle safety.
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: