Washout spring saw plunge in road deaths

The number of deaths on the roads this spring fell sharply, provisional Government figures showed yesterday.

A total of 400 people were killed in reported road accidents in Britain in the period April-June – an 18 per cent reduction on the figure of 487 in the same period last year.

The number of serious and slight injuries on the roads also decreased, with the Department for Transport (DfT) saying the extreme wet weather might have led to the lower figures.

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The provisional figures showed that the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSIs) fell six per cent to 5,970 in spring this year.

Slight injuries were down seven per cent at 41,910, while total casualties (killed, seriously injured and slightly injured) also fell seven per cent to 47,880.

Child KSIs fell 14 per cent to 610, while total child casualties in April-June were down 16 per cent – the largest fall in more than 20 years.

The DfT said: “It should be noted that Q2 2012 saw extremely wet weather across England (where rainfall levels were more than double the 1981/2010 average in both April and June).

“This wet weather is likely to have reduced levels of pedal cycle and motorcycle traffic in particular. Provisional traffic statistics show a fall in overall traffic of 1.1 per cent between 2011 Q2 and 2012 Q2, with a much larger fall in the other motor vehicles category.

“There is also evidence that the wet weather may have affected road-user behaviour through reducing traffic speeds. Compared to the same months in 2011, observed average speeds on the local A-road network were four per cent lower in April 2012 and one per cent lower in June 2012.”

The DfT’s provisional figures show that in the 12 months ending June 2012, a total of 1,790 people were killed in reported road accidents – six per cent fewer than in the year ending June 2011.

But the number of people killed or seriously injured in the year ending June 2012 rose to 24,870 – a one per cent increase on the previous 12 months.