More people were injured and killed on Devon‘s roads last year, new figures show, but casualty numbers remain lower than before the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic saw road casualties drop across Great Britain as drivers stayed at home during lockdowns, but charities have warned the Government must do more tackle an uptick in injuries from traffic accidents.
Provisional figures from the Department for Transport suggest there were 1,695 road casualties in Devon in 2021 – a rise from 1,573 the year before, but fewer than the 2,162 in 2019.
More people were killed on the area’s roads last year – 27 people died, while 21 were killed in 2020.
Meanwhile, 302 serious injuries were recorded – an increase on the year before, when 281 people were badly hurt.
This week, tens of thousands of children marched for safe streets in the UK in a campaign organised by Brake, a road safety charity.
National figures show 2,261 children were injured and 33 killed on Britain’s streets last year.
Scott Williams, head of programme delivery at Brake, said every child should have the right to walk in their neighbourhood without fear of traffic or pollution.
“It is vital that children can walk safely in the places where they live.” he added.
Overall, across Great Britain there were 127,967 road casualties in 2021 – an 11% rise on the year before – while 1,560 people were killed.
Of those who died, 686 were car users, but 363 pedestrians and 299 motorcyclists were also killed.
The number of pedal cyclists who lost their lives dropped by 20% from 141 in 2020 to 113 last year.
Commenting on the Department for Transport’s figures, Mark Turner, chief executive of the Road Victims Trust, said: “It remains a terrible fact that four people will be killed on the roads of the UK each day, with many more suffering life-changing injuries.
“The devastation and trauma caused by these collisions is immense and it is disturbing to see a climb in the numbers of people affected.”
The RAC said the Government must do more to improve road safety.
The organisation’s head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes, said: “RAC research suggests there is a huge level of concern among drivers about the standard of driving on our roads, so we urge the Government to consider reintroducing road safety targets.
“They should also look at whether the long-term decline in full-time road traffic police officers has led to a worsening in driver behaviour.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “While there has been a decline in road casualties in recent years, any fatality on our roads is a tragedy and our sympathies remain with anyone who has lost a loved one.
“Road safety is a top priority we are committed to improving through education and updates to the Highway Code that will help protect vulnerable road users, alongside our highly successful THINK! Campaign.”