A row has erupted over the latest road accidents statistics and figures which show no accident reductions while a FoI request shows big cuts in safety expenditure by the Government.
Nearly 4,000 drivers involved in an accident failed a breath test in 2017, according to Department for Transport (DfT) statistics.
But the total number of drivers and riders tested fell to under 100,000 for the first time. Just 97,371 were breath tested after an accident in 2017, compared with 179,572 in 2007.
And a new Freedom of Information request by AlcoSense Breathalysers shows that Government spend on drink drive campaigns was slashed to £930,000 in 2017-18. Total expenditure on the THINK! Drink Drive campaign was cut by nearly 50% compared with 2016-17.
“Ten years ago, the Government invested over £3.5 million in educating drivers about the dangers of drink driving,” comments Hunter Abbott, Managing Director of AlcoSense and Advisor to the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety.
“The spend is now just a quarter of that, so it’s not surprising that around 13% of all road deaths still involve at least one driver over the drink drive limit”.
RAC road safety spokesperson Pete Williams said, “This new data makes for sobering reading – there has now been no substantial reduction in fatalities since 2010 with the numbers killed on the roads remaining stubbornly high.
“It also remains the case that casualties among some vulnerable road user groups, specifically pedestrians and motorcyclists, are rising which is a concern.
“Speed limit compliance also remains a real problem, with more than half of vehicles recorded speeding on 30mph roads and nearly one-in-five drivers travelling at 30mph or more in a 20mph zones.
“With traffic levels rising, and people’s dependency on the car also increasing, a shift in focus is needed at both national and local levels to begin to tackle the problem.
“Technology has an important role to play – autonomous emergency braking, for example, has the potential to reduce casualties significantly but it will take many years to become commonplace. Nonetheless, we encourage drivers to do their bit by insisting that any new car they buy is fitted with the technology. And on a day-to-day basis, it is every driver’s responsibility to ensure they are driving safely by not breaking speed limits and reducing distractions in their vehicles so their attention remains firmly on the road.
“Today’s figures serve as a stark reminder of how much work there is still to do to improve safety of the UK’s roads.”
IAM RoadSmart has expressed its disappointment without progress in the numbers of people killed and seriously injured on the roads in the UK.
IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, said that although cars are getting safer and there has been a step change in new road investment, careless human behaviour and increasing traffic levels are cancelling this out.
Department of Transport announced that there was 1793 reported road deaths in 2017, an increase of 1 on 2016. There were 24,831 people seriously injured in reported road traffic accidents in 2017 and 170,993 casualties of all severities.