Department for Transport statistics confirm numbers of people killed in road accidents in 2010 fell to 1,850 – a reduction of 17 per cent on the previous year. Seriously injured numbers fell to 22,660 – down eight per cent.
Despite this decline, the IAM’s latest poll reveals that very few of the 2700 respondents have any faith in road deaths continuing to drop.
Twenty-five per cent think they will keep going down. Thirty-four per cent think they will remain the same, and 36 per cent of respondents think that casualty rates will rise a little over the next three years.
The poll respondents are realistic about the likelihood of getting improved services on their roads with the threat of spending cuts.
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Seventy per cent think there will be a negative impact on the number of police enforcing traffic laws, 84 per cent think road conditions and potholes will worsen, 72 per cent think there will be a negative impact on the focus on road safety education and fewer road safety officers, and 62 per cent think there will be more unroadworthy cars on the road.
Seventy per cent think improved vehicle design and technology is the biggest single reason for declining deaths and injuries on our roads and 37 per cent think that more incentives to take post-test training courses will deliver the biggest improvements in the future.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “The value of preventing each fatal crash on UK roads is around £1.8 million, and approximately £200,000 for each serious injury – it’s clear that effective road safety initiatives not only save lives but also save the nation money.
“The government should think about the real value of road safety initiatives when it considers its expenditure plans.
“As more and more driver aids are introduced we need to re-think the way we approach safe driving. Vehicle technology requires new thinking and an even greater emphasis on the driver as the decision-maker. The challenge now is for us all to treat driving as a skill for life and embrace post-test training.”