Statistics For United Kingdom

June 10, 2005: Motorway Casualties in Britain, 1994-2003
The House of Lords Hansard page shows questions about the number 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 highways 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. Nine crashes per 100 million vehicle kilometers on motorways in 2003, compared with 76 on urban ‘A’ roads.
The proportion of cars exceeding the 70mph limit was 57 percent in 2003 — up from 54 percent in 2002 — and a fifth journey 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 October 2, 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 percent less than in 2001. The number of people seriously injured fell to 35,976, 3 percent lower than in 2001. Total casualties in 2002 were 302,605, 3 percent fewer than in 2001;

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

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

• Pedestrian casualties fell by 4 percent between 2001 and 2002, and the number of killed or seriously injured pedestrians was down 5 per cent. 13 percent of all road accident casualties and 22 percent 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 percent compared with 2001, but deaths rose by 4 percent to 609. Serious injuries rose by 3 percent. However, the overall casualty rate per hundred million vehicle kilometers fell because of increases in traffic;

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

The report provides more detailed information about accident circumstances, vehicle involvement, the consequent casualties in 2002, and some critical trends in accidents and deaths.

There are also four articles. The first article monitors progress toward 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 kilometers.

In 2002 the number of people killed or seriously injured was 17 percent below the 1994-98 average; the number of children killed or seriously injured was 33 percent below the 1994-98 average; and the slight casualty rate was 12 percent below the 1994-98 average.
Other articles cover:
• casualties in accidents involving drunk 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
Today, the U.K. Department for Transport (DfT) published National Statistics on vehicle speeds in Great Britain in 2003. These statistics relate to drivers’ rates in free-flow conditions generally across the road network.
DSA Comment: The results show a high tendency to exceed speed limits. Doing so might 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 Britain’s road-crash fatality rate is dramatically lower.
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 that fall short of ‘motorway’ status. They may be dual or single-carriageways (i.e., divided or undivided highways). Regarding design and construction, they fall under the national ‘Department for Transport’s jurisdiction rather than a local authority’s.
This brief report (view here) gives average speeds for 2003 and outlines statistical changes over the years.
The figures witness the very high traffic densities in England (i.e., the number of registered vehicles per mile of public road). Britain’s ‘national speed limits’ 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 of 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. In addition, 1.4 million theory tests were carried out at 158 centers.
[Source: Driving Standards Agency press release 15/04, dated April 5, 2004]

Snippet: According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ “Motor Industry of Great Britain” statistics book, issued in January 2004, seventy-one percent of U.K. 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 two consecutive years

U.K. National Statistics — Road Safety