Casualty figures for the UK’s roads have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The latest provisional figures from the DfT reveal an estimated 1,695 fatalities for 2022, a decline of 3% on 2019  levels.

Black and white

According to Reported road casualties Great Britain, provisional results: 2022, published by the Department for Transport, there were:

1,695 fatalities last year, a decline of 3% compared to 2019

29,795 killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties also represented a decline of 3% compared to 2019.

136,002 casualties of all severities, down 11% compared to 2019.

Ups and downs

During 2022, 781 car occupants were killed, representing 46% of fatalities. Meanwhile, 376 (22%) of the people who lost their lives were pedestrians, 354 (21%) were motorcyclists and 85 (5%) were pedal cyclists.

Of these four types of road user, the biggest percentage change compared to 2019 was for pedestrians. This showed a decline of 20%, while the number of pedal cyclists fell by 15%.

However, the number of motorcyclists and car occupants killed rose compared to 2019, by 5% and 6% respectively.

In 2022, 75% of fatalities and 62% of casualties of all severities were male.


No vision

AA president Edmund King said: “Our target should be for Vision Zero with no road deaths but we are still averaging just under five deaths every day on the roads. This is not acceptable. There needs to be more of a concerted effort and priority to aim for five-star drivers, on five-star roads in five-star cars. These disappointing and tragic figures show there is still some way to go to stop this carnage.

‘Action is needed now in order to make our roads safer for everyone, regardless of how they travel. We need more engineering, more education and more enforcement to get road casualty figures falling rather than rising.’

He added: ‘Road safety experts and campaigners will also be interested at the number of vehicle occupant deaths where a seatbelt was not being worn. In previous years this figure has grown significantly.’

Targeting safety

The RAC say the figures “make for gloomy reading” , They too are urging the Government to “take a serious look” at reintroducing casualty targets.

Casualty statistics have been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with lockdown periods leading to a reduction in traffic on the roads.

Following the lockdowns of the pandemic, it is perhaps no surprise that 2022 has seen increases in  fatalities, KSIs and the total number of casualties over the year.

But the RAC views the lack of progress over the last decade “a cause for concern”.

Casualty targets were dropped when the Conservative government took control in 2010. Many road safety professionals are calling for targets to be  reintroduced, including the RAC,  to “give the whole topic much more focus on a national stage”.

“There’s no doubt these figures make for gloomy reading,” says Rod Dennis, RAC spokesman. “After a reduction in fatalities on our roads during the coronavirus lockdowns, the numbers are now rising again.

“And, while the lack of progress over many years in bringing overall casualty numbers down is itself a cause for concern, the figures for the number of men – of all age groups, but especially the young – who are killed on our roads is stark.

“Every person killed is one person too many and we feel improving road safety needs to be given the attention and resources it deserves.

“We urge the Government to take a serious look at reintroducing casualty reductions targets to give the whole topic much more focus on a national stage.”

Time for action

GEM Motoring Assist chief executive Neil Worth described the figures as “disappointing”.

Worth says much more “needs to be done if we are ever to see sustained, long-term reductions”.

“GEM is calling for the reintroduction of national casualty reduction targets as a way of focusing everyone’s attention on such an important issue. We would also like to see more frequent reporting of casualty data so that we know at any one time whether the picture is improving or deteriorating.

“We have seen no appreciable improvements in the national road safety picture for more than a decade now.”

Worth added that he is “worried that the long-term reduction in road policing resources is connected with our inability to continue the steady and sustained casualty reductions we witnessed in the first decade of this century”.

“Today’s figures highlight that men – and in particular young men – are most at risk from being killed or seriously injured in a road collision. We urge the Government to ensure its messages target this group and set out the risks they face and the risks they can pose to others.

“The only acceptable number of road deaths is zero.”