Statistics for United Kingdom

June 10, 2005: Motorway Casualties in Britain, 1994-2003
On the House of Lords Hansard page, questions are shown about the numbers of deaths and serious injuries each year on Britain’s motorways, and the causes of the relevant crashes.
View the answers here.

April 12, 2005: A Statistical Snapshot of Motorways Compared to Other Roads
In Britain, motorways account for a fifth of road traffic. In 2003, 184 people died on motorways compared with 1,890 on rural roads.
Motorways are five times safer per mile driven than the average road and eight times safer than urban ‘A’ roads. There were 9 crashes per 100 million vehicle kilometres on motorways in 2003, compared with 76 on urban ‘A’ roads.
The proportion of cars exceeding the 70mph limit was 57 per cent in 2003 — up from 54 per cent in 2002 — and a fifth travel at more than 80mph.
[Source: ‘Speed cameras to enforce 70mph motorway limit’, from The Times]

Registered (i.e. “Licensed”) Motor Vehicles in Britain

End of
Total (millions)

Road Casualties Great Britain 2002 Annual Report

Road Casualties Great Britain 2002 Annual Report

The full report was published on 2 October, 2003, and contains final figures giving detailed information on the number of people killed and injured in road accidents in Great Britain in 2002.

The key points are:

• 3,431 people were killed on Britain’s roads in 2002, 1 per cent less than in 2001. The number of people seriously injured fell to 35,976, 3 per cent lower than in 2001. Total casualties in 2002 were 302,605, 3 per cent fewer than in 2001;

• 40 fewer children were killed on the roads in 2002 than in 2001, a fall of 18 per cent. The total number of children killed or seriously injured fell by nearly 8 per cent;

• Provisional estimates indicate that the number of deaths in accidents involving drink driving was 6 per cent higher than in 2001. Final estimates will be available next year. Total casualties in drink drive accidents rose by an estimated 7 per cent;

• Pedestrian casualties fell by 4 per cent between 2001 and 2002 and the number of killed or seriously injured pedestrians was down 5 per cent. 13 per cent of all road accident casualties and 22 per cent of those who died in road accidents were pedestrians;

• In 2002, the number of casualties among users of two wheeled motor vehicles fell by 2 per cent compared with 2001 but the number of deaths rose by 4 per cent to 609. Serious injuries rose by 3 per cent. However, the overall casualty rate per hundred million vehicle kilometres fell because of increases in traffic;

• Pedal cyclist casualties fell by 11 per cent. The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured fell by almost 9 per cent overall, and the number of fatalities fell by 6 per cent. Pedal cyclist casualty rates per hundred million vehicle kilometres also fell and are now at the lowest for more than 10 years.

The report provides more detailed information about accident circumstances, vehicle involvement and the consequent casualties in 2002, along with some of the key trends in accidents and casualties.

There are also four articles. The first article monitors progress towards the Government’s casualty reduction targets for 2010. It wants to see:

• 40% reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured in road accidents compared with the average for 1994-98;

• 50% reduction in the number of children killed or seriously injured;

• 10% reduction in the slight casualty rate, expressed as the number of people slightly injured per 100 million vehicle kilometres.

In 2002 the number of people killed or seriously injured was 17 per cent below the 1994-98 average; the number of children killed or seriously injured was 33 per cent below the 1994-98 average; and the slight casualty rate was 12 per cent below the 1994-98 average.
Other articles cover:
• casualties in accidents involving drink driving ;
• Information on the involvement of ridden horses in road accidents;
• A new classification of accidents on urban and rural roads.

May 20, 2004: Vehicle Speeds in Great Britain, 2003
The UK Department for Transport (DfT) today published National Statistics of vehicle speeds in Great Britain in 2003. These statistics relate to the speeds at which drivers choose to drive in free-flow conditions generally across the road network.
DSA Comment: The results show a high tendency for speed limits to be exceeded, and in doing so, might be seen to challenge the American practice of using the so-called “85th percentile” in determining appropriate speed limits.
U.S. readers should note that British non-urban speed limits tend to be generally somewhat higher than in America, yet the road-crash fatality rate is dramatically lower in Britain.
Full UK speeds article here — Fatality-rate charts here

April 22, 2004: Average traffic speeds on trunk roads in England, 2003
Glossary note: For those who don’t use the phrase, trunk roads are major roads in Britain which fall short of ‘motorway’ status. They may either be dual carriageways or single carriageways (i.e. divided or undivided highways) and in terms of design and construction they fall under the jurisdiction of the national ‘Department for Transport’ rather than that of a local authority.
This brief report (view here) gives average speeds for 2003 as well as outlining statistical changes over a period of years.
The figures bear witness to the very high traffic densities in England (i.e. the number of registered vehicles per mile of available road). The ‘national speed limits’ in Britain are 60mph for single carriageways (i.e. undivided highways) and 70mph for dual carriageways and motorways (i.e. divided highways) unless local signs state otherwise.

Road Accidents in Scotland, 2002 (released in June 2004)

As at April, 2004, there were 1,635 driving test examiners in Britain (part of an overall staff of 2,393 at the Driving Standards Agency) and 31,786 people were on the register of Approved Driving Instructors. In 2002/03 the Agency conducted 1.3 million tests for car drivers, over 72,000 vocational tests and over 86,000 motorcycle rider tests. 1.4 million theory tests were carried out at 158 centres.
[Source: Driving Standards Agency press release 15/04, dated April 5, 2004]

Snippet: According to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ “Motor Industry of Great Britain” statistics book, issued in January 2004, seventy one percent of UK adults — that’s nearly 32 million people — hold full driving licenses and seventy four percent of households own at least one car.

Road Accident Statistics for Scotland — 2002

Department for Transport — Road Accident Statistics

Department for Transport — Road Casualty Statistics 1999

Detailed Stats from the West Midlands, for 2 consecutive years

UK National Statistics — Road Safety