The Department for Transport (DFT) has confirmed that 2010 was a record year for road casualties ……..the lowest number since records began in 1926.
Before the ‘celebrations’ begin it has to be remembered that while 1,857 road deaths is a very welcome and dramatic reduction on previous years, it still represents a huge amount of pain, suffering and grief to the families and friends of those concerned, a very significant drain of the nation’s resources and a most terrible waste of human life.
Road accidents were once described as the ‘Biggest Epidemic of our Time’ and are still one of the major causes of death and injury on our planet.
Worldwide someone is killed or seriously injured on the road every 6 seconds and indeed the United Nations consider the matter so serious it has launched a ‘Decade of Road Safety’ in an attempt to reduce the number of tragedies on the world’s roads.
In the UK a person aged between 15 and 24 is 17 times more likely to be killed in a road crash compared to being fatally assaulted with a weapon, yet publicity regarding the latter is far more ‘headline grabbing’ than road accidents.
All those involved in road safety can be justifiably proud of the reduction in casualties that have been achieved over recent years and indeed in the past 8 decades.
GEM was founded 80 years ago amidst a public outcry for action on road safety. A staggering 6,667 people died in road accidents in 1932. While it is impossible to say what definitive part GEM has played in the decline in the number of casualties it is certainly true that our efforts have helped.
GEM, like other road safety groups, can spare a brief moment of satisfaction that the casualty figures have fallen to a record low, however, there are still 1,857 compelling reasons why our work has to continue.