Latest figures from the Department for Transport show that 1,944 people were killed or seriously injured on the Strategic Road Network in 2022.
This is 38% lower than the 2005-2009 average baseline but means that National Highways must deliver a further improvement of 12 percentage points (376 KSIs) to achieve its target of a 50% reduction by the end of 2025.
Commenting, regulator the Office of Rail and Road says the number of road casualties is heavily influenced by the amount of traffic using the roads. “Therefore, the large decline, and subsequent recovery, in traffic since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult to compare National Highways’ performance against its safety target on a consistent basis in recent years,” it says.
The ORR says there were 107 more KSIs on the SRN in 2022 compared to 2021, an increase of 5.8%. However, over the same period, traffic on the SRN increased by 12.7% as it returned close to pre-pandemic levels. In its last annual assessment of safety performance on the SRN, published in December 2022, it highlighted the risk that KSIs were likely to increase as traffic returned to normal levels.
Comparing the latest figures to 2019 – the last year when traffic was unaffected by the pandemic – this shows that there were 149 (7.1%) fewer KSIs in 2022. In comparison, traffic decreased by 3.2% between 2022 and 2019.
The ORR adds that this “latest data demonstrate that it will be challenging for National Highways to achieve its target of a 50% reduction in KSIs by the end of 2025, and we continue to work closely with the company to ensure it is doing everything it can to achieve this. This includes delivering the actions aimed at improving safety in National Highways’ delivery plan for 2023-24. In December 2023, we will publish our next annual assessment of safety performance on the SRN, where we will set out our assessment of the company’s performance in this area in more detail.”
(Picture – ORR)