Report shows variations in road safety policy

First published in The Global Road Safety Review 2015 as Report highlights geographical variations in KSI progress

Progress in cutting death and injury on UK roads over the past five years has ‘varied dramatically’, with big national and regional variations, according to new analysis published by the RAC Foundation, PACTS and Road Safety Analysis.

The interim report gives KSI casualty reductions in the period 2010-13, compared with the 2005-9 average, with the figures showing that while the UK average KSI reduction during the period is -23%, the figures for London (-36%), Northern Ireland (-35%) and Scotland (-33%) are much higher, while in Wales the KSI reduction is lower at -15%. The authors say that while the report highlights the dramatic differences between geographical areas, the figures “hide a flattening out of the overall downward trend” with the biggest KSI reductions occurring in 2010.

The report shows that while car occupant safety has improved markedly, casualty reduction progress among pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists has been less impressive. Although deaths among these groups have declined they are now a larger proportion of all road deaths, rising from 46% in 2005-9 to 49% in 2013. In addition, the absolute number of cyclists seriously injured has risen. The final version of the report, titled Road Safety Since 2010, will be published in the summer after the 2014 casualty data has been released.

As well as examining official casualty data, the researchers conducted surveys and interviews with stakeholders, including 34 English local authorities, which demonstrated “just how varied road safety policy has become across the UK since 2010”.

In Northern Ireland, road safety is a fully devolved matter; in Scotland while road safety is not fully devolved, Holyrood has powers to set national speed limits and the drink-drive limit. In contrast, very few road safety powers have been devolved to the Welsh Government.