According to the latest government figures, fatalities on British roads have remained fairly constant for the better part of a decade, following a protracted fall during the ‘00s. In 2018, 25,511 serious injuries resulting from road traffic accidents were reported to the police. This is not including injuries which are considered minor, but which nevertheless have serious implications; according to the Association of British Insurers, more than 1,500 whiplash claims are made daily, most of them as a result of a road traffic accident.
It’s difficult to measure accidents of this sort across the UK, as different police forces use slightly different methods to record the severity of an incident. Consequently, it’s difficult to say which parts of the country are more prone to accidents.
We can, however, observe trends over time and see whether a given region is improving or deteriorating. London and the South-East is responsible for a significant chunk of road accidents in Britain – and this proportion has gotten more skewed over the years. With that said, this should be judged against the fact that more of us have chosen to live in the capital. Given that so many Londoners elect to commute via train rather than road, it is reasonable to assume that the proportion of them that are involved in fatal road accidents would be accordingly smaller. And, sure enough, TFL has recorded falling numbers of people killed on London roads for several years, now.
According to the road safety charity Brake, England accounts for the vast majority of road deaths in the UK, at 83%. However, when you consider that England accounts for 84% of the country by population, you find that we actually have a fairly even spread across the country when it comes to road safety.
What matters far more than the variance between regions of the UK is the difference between busy city centres and remote rural roads. Motorists driving on the latter are more likely to be involved in serious accidents for several reasons.
Firstly, when accidents do occur, it’s more difficult for the emergency services to reach a remote location than a nearby urban one. Secondly, road conditions are likely to be poorer in country roads which aren’t maintained. This includes visibility, especially at night-time when sudden changes in the road can appear suddenly. Thirdly, drivers are more likely to engage in reckless driving practices in country roads, for the simple reason that they’re more varied and interesting to drive through.
Your choice of vehicle also matters. Motorcyclists account for a disproportionate large faction of road fatalities, even though they represent just a tiny minority of road users.