England’s worst crash hotspots revealed

It's good news and bad for the English capital which is helped by better roads

​Let’s kick-off by conceding that research on road accidents and fatalities is not exactly the sort of subject you would expect to find on a “Let’s have fun” website. But, as we move into the Christmas period, maybe it’s not a bad time to reflect on the statistics and, if this blog can help to avert one accident, then it’s worth the effort.

The news for London – and I stress the figures are not just about the festive season – is very mixed. Over the past decade London has seen the most significant increase (0.97%) in road casualties, but in 2018 the fatalities stood at 112 which, apart from the north-east is the lowest figure of all the areas covered.

Of course, one death is one too many and that’s why so many think tanks and Government-backed researchers and car maufacturers are looking into autonomous (driverless) transport in the hope that the numbers can be reduced dramatically. More than 90% of accidents are down to human error. But, here’s the thing … while the authorities are keen to pursue autonomy, little is written about the fact that some people actually enjoy driving and will be sad to see that pleasure removed.

Analysis by car specialist AMT of newly-released Government data reveals the safest and most dangerous areas in England for casualties and deaths on the roads. Here are some of the highlights from the study:

  • Analysis reveals Lancashire, Kent and Surrey are the most dangerous counties, with 13,296 casualties and 120 fatalities reported between them in 2018 
  • The South East has experienced the highest number of car casualties and fatalities over the past decade, resulting in 2,945 deaths 
  • Police attendance to fatal road accidents has dropped by 8% since 2017

Counties with the most casualties and fatalities in each region in 2018

Using new data from the Department for Transport, the analysis reveals that, despite car occupants accounting for the most road deaths (44%) in 2018, motorbikes remain the riskiest transport, with 16,818 casualties and 354 fatalities reported – a slight increase from 349 in the previous year.

Meanwhile, 777 car occupants and 456 pedestrians were killed in 2018. Cyclist deaths saw a slight decrease compared with 2017 with 99 fatalities. Rural roads are the deadliest in England, having accounted for 58% of all fatalities in 2018. The standard of its roads might account for some of the good news about London. 

Child pedestrians aged 15 and below are the most vulnerable in traffic collisions, with the number of fatalities reported over the past year showing a 27% increase compared with 2017. There were 1,276 serious injuries caused to child pedestrians reported in 2018 – equating to more than three per day. 

Despite road trafficforecasts predicting an increase of between 11% and 43% in traffic in all areas across the county before 2050, overall police attendance to road accidents has seen a steady decline of 8% over the past five years. 

London has seen the most significant increase (0.97%) in road casualties over the past decade, while the north-east has seen the most substantial reduction with 5.58%. The north-east also reported the lowest number of casualties (82,111) and fatalities (696) over the past 10 years. 

Number of casualties and fatalities by region in 2018 and 2020

Region2018 Casualties2018 Fatalities2020 Casualties (based on average % change over past decade)2020 Fatalities based on average % change over past decade)
South East25,44425824,073244
North West17,10119415,382185
West Midlands13,48917312,269168
South West13,06118412,075174
East Midlands11,37019610,404190
North East5,249524,68050

Based on the average percentage change in the number of road incidents over the past 10 years, there are set to be 2,891 fatalities and 138,092 casualties reported in England in 2020. This represents a 5.7% reduction in casualties and a 4.8% drop in fatalities compared to current figures. 

This regional-level analysis is critical, as there are still more than 5,500 miles of road – 2% of Britain’s road network – with a total lack of mobile phone signal coverage, making it impossible to call for help. 

For more information on reported car casualties and fatalities in England, please visit : 

Data gathered from historic road casualty reports from the Department for Transport. Other sources include the World Health Organisation and Road Traffic Forecasts.

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.