Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2009

National Statistics logoReported Road Casualties Great Britain 2009: Annual Report

The Department for Transport has published the statistical report “Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2009: Annual Report”, according to arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority. These National Statistics are based on information about personal injury road accidents reported to the police within 30 days.

Headline final figures on the number of people killed and injured on the roads in Great Britain in 2009 were first published in June 2010. This report provides more detailed information about accident circumstances, vehicle involvement and the consequent casualties, along with some of the key trends in accidents and casualties. There are also seven articles containing further analysis on specific topics. Key results include:

General overview and trends in reported road casualties

This article reviews the main trends in the number of reported road accident casualties in Great Britain in 2009 compared with recent years. In 2009:

  • There were a total of 222,146 reported casualties of all severities, 4 per cent lower than in 2008. 2,222 people were killed, 12 per cent lower than in 2008, 24,690 were seriously injured (down 5 per cent) and 195,234 were slightly injured (down 4 per cent).
  • The number of fatalities fell for almost all types of road user, with a fall of 16 per cent for car occupants, 13 per cent for pedestrians, 10 per cent for pedal cyclists and 4 per cent for motorcyclists.

Compared with the 1994-98 average, in 2009:

  •  The number killed was 38 per cent lower;
  •  The number of reported killed or seriously injured casualties was 44 per cent lower;
  •  The number of children killed or seriously injured was 61 per cent lower; and 
  •  The slight casualty rate was 37 per cent lower.
  •  In contrast traffic rose by an estimated 15 per cent over this period.

Drinking and driving

  • This article presents statistics and an analysis of reported drinking and driving accidents and the casualties involved. It explains how drink drive accidents and casualties are defined, describes the methodology and sources of data used to produce the estimates and comments on their reliability. 
  • In 2009, it was estimated that 11,990 reported casualties (5 per cent of all road casualties) occurred when someone was driving whilst over the legal alcohol limit.
  • The provisional number of people estimated to have been killed in drink drive accidents was 380 in 2009 (17 per cent of all road fatalities), a decrease of 20 fatalities compared to the final 2008 estimate.
  • The provisional number of killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties in 2009 was 1,860, 8 per cent below the final 2008 estimate.

Contributory factors to road accidents

This article presents statistics and describes the scope and limitations of the information on contributory factors collected as part of the national road accident reporting system.

  • Failed to look properly was again the most frequently reported contributory factor and was reported in 38 per cent of all accidents reported to the police in 2009. Four of the five most frequently reported contributory factors involved driver or rider error or reaction. For fatal accidents the most frequently reported contributory factor was loss of control, which was involved in 36 per cent of fatal accidents.
  • Exceeding the speed limit was reported as a factor in 5 per cent of accidents, but these accidents involved 17 per cent of fatalities. At least one of exceeding the speed limit and travelling too fast for the conditions was reported in 13 per cent of all accidents and these accidents accounted for 27 per cent of all fatalities.
  • Pedestrian failed to look properly was reported in 58 per cent of accidents in which a pedestrian was injured or killed, and pedestrian careless, reckless or in a hurry was reported in 23 per cent. Eighteen per cent of pedestrian casualties had both of these factors reported.

Two articles present results of work to compare police and other sources of data on road accidents.

Survey data on road accidents

This article summarises and compares the data on road accidents from the National Travel Survey and British Crime Survey, briefly describes some of the issues relating to the use of this data to estimate the total number of road casualties in Great Britain, and presents broad brush estimates of total casualties (updating and revising those included the 2008 report).
 

  • Our best current estimate derived from survey data is that the total number of road casualties in Great Britain each year, including those not reported to police, is within the range 610 thousand to 780 thousand with a central estimate of 700 thousand. 
  • Initial results of a follow-up study with survey respondents suggest this figure is more likely to represent an overestimate of the true number, which includes some accidents not within the scope of the police data – for example, those happening off road. 
  • It has long been known that police data does not provide a complete record of all injury accidents and resulting casualties, and this should be borne in mind when using and analysing the data throughout this publication.  The estimates illustrate this.  However, STATS19 remains the most detailed, complete and reliable single source of information on road casualties covering the whole of Great Britain.

Hospital admissions data on road casualties

This article describes the information about road casualties admitted to hospital contained in Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), comparing it with serious injuries reported to the police in the STATS19 system and providing examples of some of the information contained in HES that can not be obtained from STATS19.

  • In 2009 there were around 39 thousand admissions to hospitals in England resulting from road traffic accidents recorded, compared with 21 thousand serious injuries reported in police data. Although police and hospital data are not directly comparable, this illustrates the incompleteness of the police data for non-fatal casualties.
  • Comparison of trends shown by police and hospital data is difficult, and there are known factors affecting patterns shown by the hospital data. However, with caution, HES can provide a useful secondary source of trend data, providing further evidence of a fall in casualties in recent years.
  • Pedestrians were more likely to be admitted to hospital with a head or face injury than other road users, 46 per cent having such an injury in 2009 compared to 33 per cent of road casualties overall. Car occupants were much more likely to suffer neck injuries than other road users (14 per cent, compared to less than 5 per cent of other road users). Forty nine per cent of pedestrians and 47 per cent of motorcyclists suffered an injury to their legs or hips.

 
There are two further articles:

  • A valuation of road accidents and casualties in Great Britain in 2009 provides the latest estimates of the values for prevention of road accidents and casualties for use in the appraisal of transport schemes. It also gives an estimate of the total value of prevention of reported road accidents in 2009, estimated to be £15.8bn. This includes an estimate of the cost of damage only accidents but does not allow for unreported injury accidents. A number of assumptions have been made to produce a broad illustrative figure which suggests that allowing for accidents not reported to the police could increase the total value of prevention of road accidents to around £30 billion
  • Road Safety Research: an Overview, provides an overview of the research programme, including the key findings of some specific pieces of research which provide insights into road accident causation and road user behaviour.
     

Other publications

The Department is also publishing 2009 accident and casualty figures for English local authority areas and Government Office Regions and new experimental statistics giving provisional statistics on breath alcohol screening tests in England and Wales.
By the end of September 2010, Road Casualties Online  (RCOL),  the new website aimed at making reported road casualty statistics more accessible to a wider audience by allowing users to perform their own analysis and download data will be updated to include 2009 data. In addition record level accident and casualty data for the period 2005-2009 will be released (subject to confidentiality requirements) on RCOL.
 

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. ‘Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2009 - Annual Report’ is published on the Department for Transport web site: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/accidents/casualtiesgbar/.  
    The Stationery Office will publish a book edition at the same time.  It provides a fuller account of road casualties in Great Britain than the summary of main results published in June 2010.
  2. The statistics mainly relate to personal injury accidents on public roads that are reported to the police.  Figures for deaths refer to persons killed immediately or who died within 30 days of the accident.  This is the usual international definition and differs from that used in other contexts by the Registrars General, whose published statistics cover all deaths on public roads, generally by date of registration. 
  3. It has long been known that a considerable proportion of non-fatal injury accidents are not known to the police. Article 5 in this publication provides our best current  estimates of the total number of road casualties in Great Britain each year,  together with information on how the estimates have been derived and their limitations. The police data are therefore not a complete record of all injury accidents and this should be borne in mind when using and analysing the data included in this publication. Police data on road accidents remain the most detailed, complete and reliable single source of information on road casualties covering the whole of Great Britain. However, other complementary sources of data on road accidents and casualties, in particular  survey and hospital data  provide further useful evidence, further information can be found in articles 5 and 6 (pages 61-83 ) of this publication.

Publication details

Published on 23 September 2010 by Transport Statistics.

Copies are available from: TSO Online Bookshop.

Price: £46.00

Email: roadacc.stats@dft.gov.uk for queries concerning road casualties.

For information about release of this product see United Kingdom National Statistics Authority.

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