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Penningtons Manches warns against complacency over improved road safety statistics ahead of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Posted: 17/11/2017

Sunday 19 November 2017 will mark the 22nd World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, a day which commemorates the millions of people killed and injured in road traffic accidents, together with their families and friends.

Road safety is such a significant global concern that in 2010 the United Nations General Assembly and Member States adopted a resolution termed the ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety’. The aim of the resolution was to reduce fatalities and serious injuries by 50% by 2020. The resolution requested that the World Health Organisation (WHO), in collaboration with other UN agencies and UN regional commissions, monitor, through global status reports, progress towards the achievement of the goal.
The most recent update addressing progress towards reducing worldwide road traffic fatalities was set out in WHO’s global status report on road safety for 2015. This report indicated that the total number of road traffic deaths worldwide had plateaued at 1.25 million per year. It stated that, while there has been progress towards improving road safety legislation and enhancing vehicle safety, the pace of change is too slow and urgent action is still needed to drastically reduce the number of road traffic deaths. Unsurprisingly the highest road traffic fatality rates were in low-income countries.

Bringing the statistics closer to home, on 28 September 2017 the Department for Transport in the UK published its annual report on road casualties in Great Britain. The report defined a ‘casualty’ as a person killed or injured in an accident and statistics for 2016 compared with 2015 revealed that:

  • vehicle traffic levels increased by 2.2%;
  • a reported total of 25,893 victims were killed or seriously injured;
  • road deaths rose by 4%; and
  • casualties of all severities decreased by 3%, to a reported total of 181,384.

The conclusion that there had been a statistically significant decrease in the number of casualties of all severities in road traffic accidents between 2015 and 2016 indicates that ongoing awareness and improvements in road safety in Great Britain are having an impact.

It is always encouraging to see improving statistics but, when considered in isolation, a figure of 181,384 casualties for a single year in Great Britain is still a significant amount and one which should be cause for concern. It should also be borne in mind that there is no obligation for people to report all personal injury accidents to the police; this must be done in only certain and limited circumstances under the Road Traffic Act. Therefore these figures may not present the full picture. The worldwide figure of 1.25 million road deaths per year, is truly shocking to consider, not least when the large majority of road traffic accidents are entirely preventable if the appropriate level of attention and due care is adopted.

Charlene King, an associate in the personal injury team at Penningtons Manches LLP, said: “Road deaths and injuries are sudden, violent and traumatic events. The impact is long lasting, and often permanent. The cumulative toll is truly tremendous and it is so important that we, as a society, do not lose sight of that and allow complacency to take hold. In practical terms, the death of a spouse or close relative can have devastating financial consequences for the family. Legal cases arising from the loss of a loved one come at an already very difficult time and can add to the trauma, stress and sense of loss. Our personal injury specialists are very aware of the added emotional strain in these cases and the need for particular sensitivity.” 

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP