I was heartened to read the national statistics released this week which show that one positive outcome of the COVID restrictions is a reduction in the number of people killed or injured in road traffic accidents on our roads. That of course makes sense when you consider that traffic levels fell significantly during the first lockdown. And it also frees up NHS resources needed to deal with those suffering from COVID.
The figures released by the Department for Transport show that for the period January to June 2020 there was a:-
- 21% decrease in the number of people killed on our roads;
- 25% decrease in the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads; and
- 30% decrease in all casualties.
These figures are significant but I think we need to treat them with caution and not take them as indicative of a trend. What these figures tell us is that there was reduced traffic on our roads and as a consequence there were fewer people killed or injured in road traffic accidents. These figures have to continue to fall over coming months and years as we find our way to the new normal for them to be indicative of a trend.
These figures simply represent the reality of traffic levels. I say that on the basis that the number of people cycling has increased over lockdown and the statistics show that the number of cyclists involved in road traffic accidents has not decreased as significantly as with other types of road users. So on that basis, I think we need to exercise caution in celebrating the decrease in casualties.
What we can all do though is make sure that when we are out in our vehicles for an essential reason or taking our daily exercise by walking or cycling, we are all continuing to take care on the roads, for ourselves, for the benefit of other road users and for the benefit of the NHS.
Caroline Kelly is Partner and Solicitor Advocate in our specialist Personal Injury team. For further information, please contact Caroline on 01382 346282 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can contact any member of the Personal Injury team on 0800 731 8434.