June 26 2014.

RoSPA has welcomed a fall in deaths and injuries on the road to the lowest number since records began, but warns more work is needed to ensure this downward trend continues.

The provisional road casualty figures for Great Britain in 2013, published today by the Department for Transport (DfT), show that overall road deaths fell by 2 per cent to 1,713 in 2013.

The DfT report highlights the number of pedal cyclists killed dropped by 8 per cent to 109 and the number of seriously injured cyclists fell by 2 per cent to 3,143 - this is the first decrease in seriously injured cyclists since 2004. These figures are particularly welcomed given the growing popularity of cycling. However, the number of slightly injured cyclists rose by 3 per cent to 16,186.

There was a 21 per cent decrease in the number of children killed in reported road traffic accidents, reversing the increases seen in 2011 and 2012. A total of 48 children (aged 15 or under) were killed, compared with 61 children in 2012. Total child casualties on the road (15,756) fell by 9 per cent to the lowest total since detailed records began in 1979.

There were further reductions in the number of pedestrian and car occupant fatalities:

• Pedestrian deaths fell by 5 per cent to 398 and serious injuries decreased by 10 per cent to 4,998
• Deaths in cars fell by 2 per cent to 785 and serious injuries decreased by 7 per cent to 7,641.

However, this welcome news is marred by a slight increase of 1 per cent in motorcyclist deaths, which roseto 331 in 2013. And the number of people killed on motorways increased by 14 per cent to 100 in 2013, the first increase since 2005. But traffic on motorways rose by 1.5 per cent which may have contributed to the increase in motorway deaths.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), a family safety charity with a history stretching back nearly 100 years, said: “These figures are good news and continue the long term reduction in death and injury on our roads. However, even with these improvements, there are around 5 deaths and 500 casualties a day on the roads, which shows there is still much work to do.

“We are likely to see more people walking and cycling in the coming years and we need to ensure people are able to enjoy these activities safely. This will require improving the environment by expanding the number of 20mph roads, safe pedestrian and cyclist routes and increasing driver awareness of the importance of sharing the road safely with these vulnerable groups.”