The latest government figures on road casualties confirm the link between austerity and increased danger on the roads. The link was outlined in a report by RoadPeace in May this year. Today’s figures show that the number of people who were killed or seriously injured (KSI) on the roads in 2016 has risen. The Government has caveated the rise in serious injuries by saying that the police under-reported such injuries in previous years and suggest that the number remains virtually unchanged. However, the flat-lining of KSI figures since 2010 contrasts with a 16% decline in the 5 years prior to austerity starting in 2010 and far bigger declines in the years before that.
The number of Killed and Seriously Injured vulnerable road users, i.e. cyclists, pedestrians and those on motorbikes, hasn’t been this bad since 2008.
Today’s horrendous casualty figures show the urgent need to reverse the cuts to traffic police, enforce the rules of the road and provide genuine justice for the victims of dangerous and careless driving. Cutting the number of traffic police by over a quarter was always going to lead to less enforcement of certain offences and an increased reliance on cameras.
The report by RoadPeace showed that an increasing number of drivers are getting away with causing death and serious injury, as overstretched police failed to investigate or pursue people. Hit and runs are at epidemic levels, while the victims struggle to find justice.
The solution is simple, increased funding for more traffic police and also teams of specialist investigators who can ensure all road deaths and serious injuries are properly dealt with. Put the government cuts into reverse.