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Did you know that the UK has some of the safest roads in the world? Yet, around 150,000 people are killed or injured in motor accidents in the UK every year – equating to hundreds of motor vehicle crashes every day.

Here are a few statistics to remind you of the importance of vehicle safety each time you get behind the wheel.

General Road Traffic Accident Statistics

In 2021, the Department for Transport Reported road casualties Great Britain, annual report: 2021 stated 1,558 fatalities as a result of car accidents – an 11% decrease from the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

They also estimate that 27,450 killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties occurred in 2021, which shows a decrease of 11% compared to 2019.

Road traffic accidents fell by 22% in 2020

In 2020, the number of road traffic accidents recorded in Great Britain fell by 22% (from 117,536 to 91,199) compared with 2019. This data from the Commons Library only covers accidents reported to the police where someone was injured.

The most significant drop in accidents occurred during the first national lockdown in April, when accidents dropped 65% lower than in 2019. However, they rose again during the summer months when restrictions eased before falling again during the November 2020 lockdown (only 30% lower than in 2019).

In 2020, 1,516 people were killed in fatal crashes on UK roads

The Department for Transport Reported road casualties Great Britain annual report: 2021 recorded 1,460 deaths, and Northern Ireland recorded 56 in 2020, with over 20,000 people seriously injured. Due to the lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, this was a significant decline compared with the previous five years – more people at home meant fewer vehicles on the road.

The first six months of 2020 saw 670 people killed in reported road accidents

According to the Department for Transport, from January to June 2020, an estimated 670 people were killed in reported road accidents – a decrease of 21% compared to the equivalent period of 2019, which saw 838 deaths.

Failure to look properly is the leading cause of motoring accidents in Great Britain

Drivers or motorcycle riders not looking properly is the leading cause of car accidents in Great Britain, contributing to 37.8% of car accidents, according to NimbleFins.

The second most common cause of motor vehicle accidents is the driver or motorcycle rider not correctly judging another motorist’s path or speed, accounting for 19.7% of accidents.

More than half of casualties in the UK occur on built-up urban roads

A 2019 statistical release from the Department for Transport reported that 63% of road traffic accidents occurred on built-up urban roads. Meanwhile, most road traffic fatalities occurred on rural roads in the UK in 2019.

On the other hand, although motorways carry around 19% of traffic, they only accounted for 5% of fatalities in 2020.

Road Traffic Accidents By Driver, Age, & Vehicle Type

Car occupants account for the majority of road traffic crashes

The RAC Foundation revealed that car occupants account for the vast majority of casualties and fatalities each year compared to other road users. But this is unsurprising considering cars make up roughly 80% of traffic on British roads.

Men are more susceptible to road accidents than women

According to the Department for Transport, in 2021, 78% of fatalities and 62% of casualties of all severities were male. 

Young adults fatalities decreased by 41% in 2020

In 2020, there were 207 fatalities of teens and young adults aged 17 – 24 in reported road traffic deaths compared to 2019 – a decrease of 41% from 248 road traffic deaths, according to the RAC Foundation.

Motor vehicle deaths of people over 60 increased by 9% in 2019

The Department for Transport reported 638 fatalities among people aged 60 and older occurred in 2019, 98 of which were passengers and 203 were drivers.

Male cyclists are more susceptible to road accidents than women cyclists

According to Statista, more male cyclists in Great Britain were killed or seriously injured in all age groups. 209 male cyclists aged 20-24 were killed or seriously injured in road accidents, compared to only 59 female cyclists.

Further revealed is that 2,000 male cyclists aged 25-59 were killed or seriously injured compared to only 496 female cyclists.

Distracted And Impaired Driving Statistics

Drunk driving has decreased by 25% in the past five years

As reported by NimbleFins, casualties from drunk driving have declined by 25.1% from 6,902 (2015) to 5,168 (2020), with the number of fatalities decreasing by 20.4% from 137 (2015) to 109 (2020).

Drunk driving was the most significant cause of slight, serious, and fatal crashes among all other accidents caused by distraction or impairment in 2020

In 2020, UK drivers who were drinking alcohol before driving and consequently impaired by it were the greatest cause of slight, serious, and fatal crashes among all other accidents caused by distraction or impairment. Statista reported that this resulted in 2,578 slight accidents and 102 fatalities.

Distracted driving contributed to 110 out of 1,456 fatal crashes in 2018

Distracted drivers contributed to 110 of the 1,456 fatal crashes in Great Britain in 2018, nearly as much as alcohol impairment which caused 117 fatal crashes.

According to TopTests, distractions included some other distractions inside the vehicle (68 fatal crashes), some distractions outside of the vehicle (17 fatal crashes), and using a mobile phone while driving (25 fatal accidents).

Chances of crashing are four times more likely when using a mobile phone

According to Think!, you are four times more likely to be in a crash when using your phone.

They also reported that reaction times are twice as slow if you text using a hands-free phone whilst driving than if you drink and drive. And this increases three times further if you use a handheld phone.

Young Driver Statistics

High casualty numbers for drivers aged 17 to 29

According to the Department for Transport Reported road casualties Great Britain, annual report: 2021, 26% of fatalities and 30% of all casualties occurred amongst those aged between 17 and 29. 

Speeding is the most common offence among young drivers (75%)

According to Moneyshake, Speeding is the most common motoring offence, accounting for 75% of young driver offences (a total of 60,432). The second most common offence among young drivers is driving without insurance, with 6,367 young drivers getting caught in 2019.

Young male drivers account for the majority of young driver fatalities

The Department for Transport Young Car Drivers Road Safety Factsheet (2016) stated that young male drivers aged 17-24 accounted for the majority of young person fatalities, at 80%.

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