Traffic RoadsThe number of people killed in road traffic accidents reported to the police fell to 1,754 in 2012, new figures released by the Department of Transport have revealed.

The eight per cent drop – down from 1,901 in 2011 – is the lowest number since records began in 1926. Additionally, there was a small drop in the number of people injured in road traffic collisions – 23,039 compared to 23,122 in 2011.

However, there was a rise in the number of fatal incidents involving cyclists in 2012. In total, 118 cyclists were killed and 3,222 seriously injured – a 10 per cent increase in cyclist deaths and a four per cent increase in serious injuries. In contrast, pedestrian deaths have fallen seven per cent to 420, but serious injuries have increased by two per cent to 5,559.

Commenting on the new figures, Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: “Road crashes are violent, sudden events that tear apart families and whole communities; they are also a huge economic burden, and preventable through investment in education, engineering and enforcement. While progress towards fewer deaths and injuries is hugely welcome, it is important to acknowledge every person behind these statistics. For every one of the 1,754 people killed violently and needlessly in 2012, many more are left behind to grieve their loss, often suffering very serious trauma. So we must aim for zero; because no death or serious injury is acceptable.”

Institute of Advanced Motorists director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “IAM welcomes a return to the long-term improvements in road safety that the UK has been rightly recognised for.  Last year was a clear warning for government that complacency in road safety cost lives.”

“The IAM has always warned that failing to match investment in segregated facilities with the growing numbers of cyclists would lead to an increase in death and serious injury and this worrying trend continues.  A ten per cent increase in cycling deaths in a year when the weather suppressed cycling trips is a real red danger signal that simply cannot be ignored.”