The number of people killed on Britain’s roads rose slightly in the last year - this is the third consecutive annual rise and part of a 2% increase since last year in the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI casualties).
The Department for Transport’s (DfT) quarterly provisional estimates of reported road casualties in Great Britain for the year ending March 2016 show that road deaths have plateaued for the past five years following falls between 2008 and 2011.
However, traffic levels rose by 1.8% over the year, meaning that the overall casualty rate per vehicle mile decreased by 4% over the period.
In the past year, there were 1,780 reported road fatalities, only one more than the 1,779 fatalities in the previous year but more than 100 higher than the figure of 1676 for the year ending March 2013.
There were 24,610 KSI casualties in the year ending March 2016, up by 2% on the previous year, but 187,050 casualties of all severities, down 2%.
DfT officials said the rise in KSI casualties was not statistically significant.
However, officials said a decrease of 2% in the total number of casualties was statistically significant, which the DfT said suggests 'is likely to relate to improvements in road safety’.
There was also a statistically significant 14% increase in KSI casualties in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same quarter of 2015, with an additional 50 deaths.
In the 2015 calendar year, 1,732 people were killed in road accidents in Great Britain.
Quarterly casualty figures are prone to fluctuation as they are strongly affected by factors such as the weather, however officials conceded that this could not explain the increases in fatalities, KSIs and total casualties in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same quarter of 2015.
DfT statistics also showed slight annual increases during 2015 in both the number of drink-drive accidents (5,770) and drink-drive related casualties (8,530).
Lucy Amos, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity, said: 'Since 2009 we have seen the number of drink-drive fatalities in the UK remain almost static, and it is clear that decisive action is needed to secure more meaningful reductions in needless drink-drive deaths and injuries. Brake is calling for a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit and greater prioritisation and resources for traffic policing to confront the problem.'
Pedal cyclist KSIs fell by 3% to 3,390 and motorcyclist KSIs fell by 1% to 5,510 in the year ending March 2016, while pedestrian KSIs increased by 2% to 5,490 and car occupant KSIs rose by 5% to 9,100.
Child KSI casualties increased by 5% to 2,050 during the year and child pedestrian KSIs by 3%.