Wednesday, 13 January 2010

UK Road Deaths, 1930-2008

The graph shows the number of people killed on UK roads between 1930 and 2008. As you might expect, there is a general decline. The smooth nature of the line from 1930-1980 is due to XL smoothing the data, which is only available for 5-yearly intervals for this period.

Somewhere in the middle there (1983 to be precise) seatbelts were introduced. There is no obvious effect.

Now, when we bear in mind that traffic levels have increased hugely from the beginning of the series to its end, it's obvious that the roads are actually amazingly safe.

If you plot the number of deaths per unit of traffic, a much smoother decline can be seen. If the roads were as dangerous now as they were in 1955, there would be more than ten times more fatalities on the UK's roads.

Rather insanely, globally, more than a million people die on roads each year. This is a rather difficult number to comprehend. More on road safety statistics later.

WHO page on traffic accidents

Data from Department for Transport

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