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Road deaths rise on pre-pandemic levels as e-scooter collisions jump 200%

Road crash data has been revealed: compared to 2019 before the pandemic, deaths on UK roads were 12% lower - although deaths per billion miles driven were higher, the DfT has confirmed

The number of people killed on Britain’s roads per billion miles traveled was higher last year than pre-pandemic levels, new figures show.

The Department for Transport estimates that 1,558 people died in crashes on UK roads in 2021, up 7% from the previous year when four of those months were spent in national lockdown, sending traffic levels plummeting.

The report also highlighted a 193% increase in electric scooter collisions, which resulted in 1,434 injuries – including 10 deaths – in total last year.

Road crash data has been revealed: compared to 2019 before the pandemic, deaths on UK roads were 12% lower - although deaths per billion miles driven were higher, the DfT has confirmed

Road crash data has been revealed: compared to 2019 before the pandemic, deaths on UK roads were 12% lower – although deaths per billion miles driven were higher, the DfT has confirmed

Although statistics suggest that road fatalities have decreased based on the comparison of 2019 to 2021, it is important to note that traffic levels last year remained below normal due to periods of lockdown between January and March as well as an increase in work and learning. of the House.

The DfT said there were 5.2 deaths per billion vehicle kilometers in 2021, which is higher than the 4.9 deaths recorded per billion kilometers in 2019.

Simon Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said it “suggests little progress is being made to make our roads safer”, as he called on the government to publish an updated road safety plan. day, including whether it will follow in the footsteps of the EU by mandating speed limiters in all new cars.

Mr Williams said a clear plan would help the country ‘tackle poor driving standards and illegal behavior behind the wheel’.

The newly published DfT report shows that a total of 25,892 people were seriously injured on UK roads last year, while the total number of casualties of all severities – including fatalities – was 128,209 .

There were 5.2 deaths per billion vehicle kilometers in 2021, which is higher than the 4.9 deaths recorded per billion kilometers in 2019 (as shown in the graph on the lower right)

There were 5.2 deaths per billion vehicle kilometers in 2021, which is higher than the 4.9 deaths recorded per billion kilometers in 2019 (as shown in the graph on the lower right)

He also revealed that Britain is witnessing a worrying upsurge in the number of drivers and passengers who do not take legal safety precautions when inside a moving vehicle, failure to wear the seat belt contributing to 30% of deaths in cars in 2021.

This is the highest proportion of road deaths on record linked to poor restraint and is four percentage points higher than the five-year average.

For deaths on the roads at night, the proportion linked to not wearing a seatbelt was even higher at 47% “appalling”, according to an analysis by the AA.

Those most likely to be killed while not wearing their seatbelts were younger car occupants aged 17-29 at 40%, while there was a higher proportion of males killed in cars (34%) than women (20%) who were unrestrained when the collision took place, according to the automotive group.

“This is an appalling jump in the number of road deaths where wearing a seatbelt may well have been the difference between surviving or dying in a road accident,” said Jack Cousens, head of of the AA road policy.

“The release of pandemic lockdowns may have fueled some of the surge, but the death rate without wearing a seatbelt was increasing even before Covid.

“It may take a road safety campaign to increase the danger again. Obviously, the message is being forgotten.

Although motoring groups fear road fatalities may be falling, the latest DfT data shows the UK still has some of the safest roads in the world, recording the sixth lowest death rate in the world .

The DfT says Britain has the sixth safest roads in the world.  This graph shows road deaths per million inhabitants by country in 2021

The DfT says Britain has the sixth safest roads in the world. This graph shows road deaths per million inhabitants by country in 2021

Electric scooter collisions increase by almost 200%

DfT figures also show that the number of collisions involving e-scooters has increased year-on-year by 193%.

Data shows that the number of pedestrians injured after being struck by an electric scooter was more than four times higher in 2021 than the previous year, with 229 people traveling on foot injured by the devices last year, including 67 seriously injured.

This represents an increase from a total of 57 pedestrians killed in 2020, with only 13 seriously injured.

A total of 1,434 injuries of varying severity were caused as a result of collisions with e-scooter riders.

There were 10 recorded fatalities – up from one in 2020 – the fatalities being all those driving the devices.

Four out of five serious injuries (79%) caused by e-scooter accidents also involved the riders themselves.

Some 229 pedestrians were injured after being hit by electric scooters last year, 67 of them seriously injured, according to DfT records

Some 229 pedestrians were injured after being hit by electric scooters last year, 67 of them seriously injured, according to DfT records

The AA’s Mr Cousens commented: ‘We had hoped the closures and restricted travel throughout the pandemic would reset road deaths, but unfortunately they have increased from 2020 and a new trend has emerged. imposed.

“As electric scooter trials continue across the country, accidents involving electric scooters increased 193% in 2021 compared to 2020.

“The broader introduction of micromobility into the national transportation landscape must examine how we can embrace new and emerging personal mobility technologies without compromising the safety of all road users, including pedestrians.”

Martin Usher, partner at Lime Solicitors, said today’s figures confirmed what many had suspected – a “sharp increase” in electric scooter accidents and injuries over the past 12 months.

“Given the threefold increase in the number of collisions and casualties, we need more effective measures to improve road safety,” he said.

“While rental scooters have speed limits, we know there are thousands of illegal private vehicles being driven dangerously on public roads. The government cannot continue to delay its response to the changing metropolitan transportation landscape.

“Electric scooters are durable and cost effective, but need regulation such as mandatory training similar to a rider proficiency course, helmets and private property insurance to keep people safe.”

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