Road safety review shows drop in casualties

The total number of people killed or injured on Somerset’s roads fell to its lowest ever level in 2015.

Figures show there were 1,455 fatal, serious or slight injury casualties in Somerset in 2015. This was down by 10 per cent from 1,623 casualties in 2014.

There were also fewer deaths with the number of fatalities dropping by a third from 33 to 22, although the number of serious injuries rose slightly from 185 to 188.

Injury collision data is collected by Avon and Somerset Police and analysed by Somerset County Council’s Road Safety Team. The Road Casualty Review is published each year to highlight trends and make recommendations for possible solutions to problems.

The figures currently available for the first half of 2016 are also positive, showing a seven per cent reduction in the number of fatally or seriously injured casualties compared to the first half of 2015. Until the end of June 2016, there were 13 fatalities, 68 serious and 601 slight injury casualties.

Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Road Safety, said: “We’re committed to doing everything we can to keep our roads safe and I’m pleased to see these latest figures going in the right direction although I fully recognise that every death or injury is a terrible tragedy.

“However, the annual casualty review is not just about the headline figures, it also contains a lot of detail to help us understand current issues and trends so we can proactively address them.

“This information is vital to help us target our resources in the right places, particularly as we continue to see increasing traffic on our roads.”

Somerset County Council aims to improve safety and prevent accidents in a number of ways – from engineering work like improving signs and lines or introducing traffic calming, to targeted training of road users or requesting support from the police for enforcement.

In 2015, Somerset Road Safety provided training or advice to nearly 19,000 members of the public. This included meeting 6,000 people at public events, training 2,700 motorcyclists, reaching 1,300 senior drivers through Route 60+ workshops, and teaching thousands of school children at various education programmes.

The 2015 Road Casualty Review analyses collision and casualty statistics, comparing them to the previous five-year period and focusing on defined target groups – such as road user types and different age groups. You can read the report in full at Casualty Review 2015.

In addition to the immeasurable emotional impact of injury collisions, there is also a significant financial impact. According to Department for Transport estimates, the combined cost of the reported injury collisions in Somerset for 2015 totalled £67,449,956. This estimate includes costs arising from lost output, medical treatment, police, insurance, administration and damage to property.

The Somerset Road Safety team is active on social media with posts in 2015 achieving 128,000 impressions on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Find out more by visiting www.somersetroadsafety.org.