Fatal road collisions caused by distraction, impairment and speed at ten-year high

There were 1,711 fatalities on Britain’s roads in 2022, an increase of nine per cent year-on-year, new Department for Transport (DfT) data shows.

Some 29,742 people were killed or seriously injured (KSI) and 135,480 casualties of all severities.

New DfT data around e-scooters also shows a rise in fatalities, with 1,402 collisions involving e-scooters, compared to 1,352 in 2021.

There were 12 deaths in collisions involving e-scooters, 11 of whom were e-scooter riders, compared to 10 in 2021.

DfT says its best estimate, after adjusting for changes in reporting by police, is that there were 440 seriously injured and 1,040 slightly injured in collisions involving e-scooters, this compares to 418 and 1,006 respectively in 2021.

RAC road safety spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “Confirmation that last year saw a rise in the number of casualties on our roads – and that men are so much more likely to be involved – is a chilling reminder that there remains so much work to do be done to improve road safety in the UK, even if statistically we have some of the safest roads in Europe.

“The data shows there were more fatal collisions last year than at any point over the last decade caused by drivers or riders being distracted, impaired (458 lives lost) or breaking the speed limit (303 lives lost).

“It’s time the government turned the dial up on tackling these issues which, while complex, result in hundreds of people losing their lives every year.

“We also continue to urge the Government to treat this issue with the upmost seriousness by reintroducing casualty reduction targets which were scrapped in 2010.”

The majority of road fatalities occurred on rural roads, whereas the majority of all casualties occurred on urban roads.

Although motorways account for 21 per cent of road traffic, they account for a much smaller proportion of road fatalities (6 per cent) and casualties (4 per cent).

By contrast, rural road fatalities (59 per cent) are over represented compared to the proportion of rural road traffic (44%).

Similarly, urban roads account for a much higher proportion of road casualties (63 per cent) than their relative traffic level (35 per cent).

The DfT figures also highlight that, where a fatality occurred, around a fifth of all car occupants were not wearing seatbelts, but this proportion was higher for male car occupant fatalities and occupants travelling in the evening and night (6pm to 8am).

Worryingly, the DfT data also reveals that the number of deceased drivers with ‘impairment drugs’ present has increased by over 60 per cent from 2014 to 2021, while those where alcohol has been detected has barely changed.

The drug driving increase could reflect changes to testing, and add further years data as it becomes available, said the DfT.

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