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Official safety stats reveal car risk rise

Date: 05 July 2006

The number of people killed on UK roads dropped by 20 last year to 3201, though the latest figures released by the Department for Transport also record a 7% fall in the number of serious injuries, compared with 2004 data.

The number of car driver dying actually rose four to 1675, but the biggest problem was among cyclists, where the 14 extra deaths last year equated to a 10% increase.

The results provoked disappointment among road safety and motoring groups.

"It is disappointing the rate of casualty reduction seems to have stalled," said RAC Foundation's executive director Edmund King. "New thinking is needed to improve driving standards, pedestrian education and poor road and junction design." Motorists' group the Association of British Drivers slammed the recent trend towards focussing on the 'speed kills' message. These figures show that we need to completely change the way we think about road safety," said director of policy Mark McArthur-Christie. "It simply cannot be imposed from the outside with humps, bumps, cameras and lower limits. These are all effective in making drivers legally compliant but not safe."

Road safety organisation RoSPA has produced a list of safety measures it claims would make an indent into road deaths.

"We are deeply disturbed to see that more pedal cyclists have died. It is also worrying to see a slight increase in deaths among car users," said RoSPA head of road safety Kevin Clinton. "This is despite improvements in car design and advances in medical science."