One in four (27%) people who were killed in car accidents last year weren’t wearing a seat belt. The findings, from new government statistics, are a dramatic increase from 2016 when the proportion was just 20%. It is the highest proportion since such data was first published in 2013.

Total road deaths last year – which also includes pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists – reached 1,793. This was the highest annual total since 2011, although almost level with the number killed in 2016. There were 24,831 serious injuries in road traffic accidents reported to the police in 2017.

Risk to children

Pedestrian fatalities increased by 5% from 2016, with 470 deaths, and casualties rose to 23,805 – of which 25% were aged between 0-15.

Safety charity RoSPA called for improved road safety training for young children.

Nick Lloyd, road safety manager for RoSPA, said: “Twenty-three per cent of child pedestrian casualties in 2017 occurred between 3-5pm, coinciding with the afternoon school run. These worrying statistics demonstrate the need for all road users to be extra vigilant during these hours, and the importance of practical road safety training for kids. Equally important is the provision of segregated safe walking routes and safe crossing facilities.”

Nick added: “We urge schools, parents and carers to provide effective road safety education, practical training, and a safe walking and cycling route to and from school.”

Lack of progress

The government figures also reveal that motorcyclists made up one in five (19%) of all road deaths in Britain, up 9% compared with 2016

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “In a global context our road safety record remains relatively good, but we have now had eight years where no real progress has been made in cutting the total number of deaths on Britain’s roads, while the numbers for pedestrians and motorcyclists in 2017 have actually got worse.”

Road safety charity Brake responded to the figures with some suggestions to improve road safety. “We urge the government to make roads policing a national investment priority, with a visible police presence catching and deterring illegal driving and cameras preventing the scourge of speeding,” said Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake.

The figures showed most deaths (60%) occurred on rural roads (1,068). A total of 626 deaths occurred on urban roads and 99 on motorways.

To read more about road safety go to Solved.