There were 1,775 road deaths in Great Britain in 2014, an increase of 4% on 2013, but still the third-lowest year on record according to government figures.
Over the same period, there were 194,477 casualties of all degrees of severity – a rise of 5.9% and the first such overall increase since 1997.
Among these, the 446 pedestrian deaths recorded were 12% up on the record low of 2013 and the highest level since 2011. Almost all of this increase was accounted for by people aged 60 or over.
James Gibson, director of communications for national campaign group Road Safety GB, attributes the rise not to any single issue, but to factors such as an improving economy and falls in fuel prices which have encouraged people to drive more.
He welcomed the allocation of increased funding to Highways England for safety improvements on motorways and major A roads, but for local authorities he said 'the pressure is on to balance the books in terms of road safety spending'.
'Councils are having to make tough decisions across all areas and there is no doubt that there has been, and will continue to be, less money available for road safety engineering improvements and education programmes by local authorities,' he added.
Meanwhile, he draws attention to the role of technologies such as autonomous emergency braking and electronic stability control in reducing future casualty levels.