One in five patients admitted to trauma centres in England and Wales last year were involved in a road crash, according to new figures.
Data published by Brake shows that 11,486 road users – the equivalent of 31 a day – were admitted to trauma centres with life-threatening injuries in 2016, making road collisions the second largest cause of trauma admissions.
The analysis has been published at the start of Road Safety Week (20-26 November), coordinated by Brake, which is running a Speed Down Save Lives campaign.
It cited recent figures from the Department for Transport revealing that breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for the conditions contributed to 349 fatal collisions on roads in Britain last year – 22% of all fatal crashes.
Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, said: ‘Not only do needless road collisions cause untold suffering but they also place an enormous strain on the NHS and other public services.
‘Driving is unpredictable and if something unexpected happens on the road ahead, such as a child stepping out from between parked cars, it's a driver’s speed that determines whether they can stop in time and, if they can’t, how hard they will hit. That's why we're encouraging everyone to “Speed Down Save Lives'” for Road Safety Week this year.’
He added: ‘Brake is also calling for a default 20mph limit in all built-up areas, increased enforcement and “Intelligent Speed Adaptation”, which helps drivers stay within the limit, to be fitted as standard to new vehicles.’
Ben Walton, adult clinical lead for major trauma in the Severn area, said: ‘Road traffic incidents have a serious, often devastating impact on individuals and their families. Even if people survive and make it to the Major Trauma Centre - where specialists work together to help treat their different injuries - the long-term outcome can still be life-changing. There are many ways in which road traffic collisions can be prevented. In particular we urge people to be mindful of the speed they are travelling.’