Heavy snowfalls blamed for first increase in road deaths since 2003

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The number of people killed on the roads rose last year for the first time since 2003.

There were 1,901 people killed in British road accidents reported to the police – a three per cent increase on 2010.

The number of deaths and serious injuries last year reached 25,023 – two per cent up on 2010 and the first increase in those killed or seriously injured (KSI) since 1994.

Safety groups and motoring organisation expressed disappointment at the figures.

The total number of casualties (slight injuries, serious injuries and deaths) was down, dipping two per cent to 203,950 last year.

Total reported child casualties (ages 0-15) continued to fall last year, going down 0.5 per cent to 19,474.

The number of child KSIs fell four per cent to 2,412.

The number of car occupant deaths last year rose six per cent to 883. Total casualties (deaths, serious injuries and slight injuries) among car users reached 124,924, seven per cent fewer than in 2010.

Car and taxi traffic increased slightly – by 0.2 per cent – between 2010 and 2011.

There were 453 pedestrian deaths last year – 12 per cent more than in 2010. Seriously injured pedestrian casualties also increased – by five per cent to 5,454.

The number of pedal cyclists killed fell from 111 in 2010 to 107 in 2011. Pedal cyclist serious injuries were up 16 per cent and total pedal cycle casualties rose 12 per cent.

There were 362 motorcycle users killed in 2011, a 10 per cent decrease compared with 2010. But serious injuries were up 10 per cent and total casualties among motorcyclists rose eight per cent.

The Department for Transport document outlining the casualty statistics said: “Adverse weather (heavy snowfalls) experienced in the first and last quarters of 2010 but not in 2011 are likely to be a factor in the increase in serious road casualties and fatalities recorded in 2011.”

Transport Secretary Justine Greening, speaking in the House of Commons, said yesterday: “We had some exceptional weather in that period and that was one of the reasons why there was such a change (in the casualty figures).”

She said the Government was committed to improving road safety.

Shadow Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick urged her to bring back targets, which were abolished under the last Transport Secretary, Tory Philip Hammond.