Road safety casualty numbers increase on road network but remain lower than pre-pandemic levels

Casualty numbers on Great Britain’s road network increased compared to 2020, but remained lower than the pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest Department for Transport (DfT) statistics.

Tlhe number of reported road casualties in 2021 continued to be impacted by the national restrictions following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including a period of lockdown between January and March.

Provisional statistics on reported road casualties in Great Britain for 2021 show that there were:

  • an estimated 1,560 reported road deaths in 2021, a reduction of 12% from the 2017 to 2019 average
  • an estimated 27,300 killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties in 2021, a reduction of 13% from the 2017 to 2019 average
  • an estimated 127,967 casualties of all severities in 2021, a reduction of 21% from the 2017 to 2019 average

There were increases in casualties of all severities in 2021 compared to 2020, though pedal cyclists showed a reduction in fatalities (20%). Monthly changes in overall casualties compared to 2020 generally showed a similar trend to changes in motor traffic levels.

Serious injuries showed the largest increase in 2021 compared with 2020 (14%), with slight injuries increasing slightly less by 10%. Serious injuries are also estimated to be closer to their pre-pandemic levels than slight injuries (13% less than the 2017 to 2019 average in 2021, compared with 23% less for slight).

Changes in fatalities and casualties varied by road user type. Pedal cyclists had a reduction in fatalities in 2021 compared with 2020 (20%). Despite this reduction, the number of pedal cyclist fatalities in 2021 was still higher than the 2017 to 2019 average (13%).

Car occupants, pedestrians and motorcyclists showed the opposite trend, with increases in fatalities in 2021 compared with 2020 and decreases compared with the 2017 to 2019 average.

Alongside this publication, the DfT has also published provisional 2021 statistics for e-scooter casualties and a factsheet on older driver casualties based on data to 2020.

Final annual road casualty statistics for 2021 are scheduled for publication in September.

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