Motoring and safety groups have criticised the Government for not prioritising road safety in the wake of figures which revealed a surprise rise in road deaths last year.
Police statistics revealed that there were 1901 people killed on Britain’s roads last year, which represented a 3per cent increase on 2010, and was the first time since 2003 that numbers hadn’t fallen.
Though the death toll for motorcyclists and pedal cyclists fell, by far the most worrying statistic was a 12 per cent rise in pedestrian deaths.
Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “After a long period of deaths falling year on year, we are very disturbed that they have risen, particularly among children and pedestrians.
“We are also concerned that reduced public spending on road safety, especially cuts to local authority and road policing budgets, may be partly to blame.”
Shadow transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick has urged the government to bring back targets, which were abolished under the last transport secretary, Tory Philip Hammond, while professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, called the figures “sobering”.
Though Transport Secretary Justine Greening, speaking in the House of Commons, apportioned “exceptional weather” as a factor for the change in the casualty figures, she did express concern for the rise in pedestrian deaths.
“We need to know why this is; is it due to more and more people being distracted by using mobile phones and listening to music?”
Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said Britain’s roads are still among the safest in the world but was ‘disappointed’ at the figures, adding: “Any road death or injury is a tragedy and I will continue to take urgent action to crack down on the most dangerous drivers while improving the training to make our roads safer for everyone.”No Comments