Road Casualties Great Britain: 2007

Print Print page   Download PDF PDF image

Road Casualties Great Britain: 2007 - Annual Report

The Department for Transport has today published the statistical bulletin “Road Casualties Great Britain 2007: 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 2007 were first published in June 2008. This report provides more detailed information about accident circumstances, vehicle involvement and the consequent casualties in 2007, 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 progress towards casualty reduction targets

This article shows progress towards the Government’s casualty reduction targets for Great Britain and reviews the main trends in road casualties in 2007 compared with recent years.

There were a total of 247,780 casualties of all severities, 4 per cent lower than in 2006.  2,946 people were killed, 7 per cent lower than in 2006, 27,774 were seriously injured (down 3 per cent on 2006) and 217,060 were slightly injured (down 4 per cent on 2006). 

In 2000, the Government published a safety strategy in Tomorrow’s Roads Safer for Everyone. By 2010, the aim is to achieve, compared with the average for 1994-98:

  • A 40% reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) in road accidents;
  • A 50% reduction in the number of children killed or seriously injured (children are defined as being those aged under 16);
  • A 10% reduction in the slight casualty rate, expressed as the number of people slightly injured per 100 million vehicle kilometres

Compared with the 1994-98 average baseline, in 2007 

  • The number of people killed or seriously injured was under 31 thousand, 36 per cent below the baseline.
  • The number of children killed or seriously injured was 55 per cent below the baseline.
  • The slight casualty rate was 32 per cent below the baseline.
  • In this period the traffic has risen by an estimated 16 per cent.

Drinking and driving

This article examines the subject of drinking and driving. It explains how drink drive accidents and casualties are defined, followed by a description of the methodology and sources of data used to produce the estimates and to ensure their reliability.  

  • In 2007, it was estimated that 14,480 casualties (6 per cent of all road casualties) occurred when someone was driving whilst over the legal limit for alcohol. The number of deaths was 460 (16 per cent of all road deaths).
  • The provisional number of killed or seriously injured casualties in 2007 was 2,220, approximately a quarter of the 1980 level and 12 per cent below the 2006 level.
  • The numbers of slight injuries in drink drive accidents have been falling since 2002, but the provisional figures for 2007 suggests a rise of 3.5 per cent compared to 2006.

Contributory factors to road accidents

The article describes the scope and limitations of the contributory factors information recently added to the national road accident reporting system, and presents results from the third year of collection, including:

  • Failed to look properly was the most frequently reported contributory factor and was reported in 35 per cent of all accidents. 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 33 per cent of fatal accidents.
  • Younger and older drivers are more likely to have a contributory factor recorded than drivers aged 25-69. Younger drivers, particularly males, are more likely to have factors related to speed and behaviour, whereas older drivers are more likely to have factors related to vision and judgement.

Road casualties and deprivation

This article looks at the relationship between road casualties and deprivation in England in 2007, focussing on differences by age and road user type. 

  • 12 per cent of road casualties were living in the 10% most deprived areas.
  • The 10% most deprived areas were over represented in the casualty population for all age groups except 17-19 year olds, 20-25 year olds and those aged 60 and over.
  • The largest difference between the casualty rate for the most deprived and least deprived areas was for pedestrians, from a rate of 70 casualties per 100,000 population in the most deprived areas to 21 casualties per 100,000 population in the least deprived areas.

The use of hospital data on road accidents

This article presents initial results of work to compare police accident and hospital admission data at individual record level, and gives a further example of the type of analysis that can be done using hospital admission data, looking at pedestrian injuries in road accidents. 

  • Initial results of matching The Health and Social Care Information Centre Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) and police data (STATS19) on road accidents suggest that the proportion of road accident casualties admitted to hospital that are known to the police has remained relatively constant over recent years. 
  • There is, however, some evidence of an increase in the proportion of casualties admitted to hospital that are recorded as slightly injured in STATS19.  This could be due to changes in police recording of severity or changes in hospital admissions practices, or a combination of both factors.
  • Pedestrian casualties account for around a fifth of HES road traffic accident casualties and a similar proportion of STATS19 seriously injured casualties.  Pedestrians admitted to hospital as the result of a road traffic accident are most likely to have injuries to the head/face and the legs/hips.

Comparative casualty rates by mode of travel

This article looks at alternative estimates for comparing the risk of death associated with different forms of transport, covering rail, water, air and road transport modes.  Whilst some care is needed in interpreting the figures, this analysis shows:

  • Fatality rates per passenger kilometre have fallen over the last 25 years for nearly all modes of transport; the rates for car and van users have fallen by more than half, whilst rates for motorcyclists have remained fairly constant.
  • Fatality rates per passenger are highest for motorcyclists, regardless of whether this is measured on a per kilometre, per journey or per hour basis - around 40 to 60 times greater than the equivalent rate for car users.
    Aviation, water and rail transport have very low fatality rates.  In years when fatalities are high, it tends to be as a result of a major accident.  Bus or coach travel have the lowest rates amongst road modes, these are of the same order of magnitude as for travel by rail.  

A further article gives information on the valuation of accident and casualty costs. The Department is also publishing two fact sheets containing more detailed statistics on road accident fatalities and accidents involving goods vehicles.


1. ‘Road Casualties Great Britain: 2007 - Annual Report’ is published on the Department for Transport web site  (   The Stationery Office will publish a book edition at the same time.  It is a continuation of the annual series of reports formerly known as Road Accidents Great Britain: the Casualty Report. It provides a fuller account of road casualties in Great Britain than the summary of main results published on 26 June 2008.

2. The statistics 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, adopted by the Vienna Convention in 1968.  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. Very few, if any, fatal accidents do not become known to the police. However, research conducted on behalf of the Department in the 1990s has shown that a significant proportion of non-fatal injury accidents are not reported to the police. In addition some casualties reported to the police are not recorded and the severity of injury tends to be underestimated. The Department is undertaking further research to investigate whether the levels of reporting have changed. The most recent work on levels of reporting and links to other research can be found in Article 6 of the report published today.

Publication details

Published on 25 September 2008 by Transport Statistics.

Copies are available from: TSO Online Bookshop.

Price: £39.50

Email: for queries concerning road casualties.

For information about release of this product see National Statistics Online.

For related documents, pages and internet links, see the column on the right.