18 Nov 2021
New Index Reveals Cost of Complacency on UK Road Death

Over the last decade, the cost of complacency on Britain’s road has resulted in 40,000 unnecessary deaths and serious injuries.

The new #50by30 Road Safety Index (http://index.agilysis.co.uk), compares the performance of local authorities across Great Britain, showing how weak results over the last decade have led to avoidable deaths and injuries. The Index also compares the cost of a ‘business as usual’ scenario for the next ten years with the stronger effort required to reach the United Nations #50by30 global target for a 50% reduction by 2030.

Figure 1: Long term road safety trend in Great Britain, showing the cost of complacency and goal of #50by30

Road traffic crashes claim the lives of over 1,750 people every year, and result in injury to over 150,000 citizens: many of them the most vulnerable, the young and the elderly, from deprived communities.

Launching the new report, David Ward, President of The Towards Zero Foundation said: “Progress on road safety has stalled over the last decade just as local councils have been given more responsibilities but fewer resources to improve the safety of our roads. A new partnership between national and local government is urgently needed to get UK road safety back on track and ensure that road deaths and serious inquiries are halved by 2030.”

In 2020, the United Nations General Assembly declared a Decade of Action on road safety and called for member states to work to reduce road deaths and serious injuries to 50% of their current level by 2030. The data presented in the Safer Roads Index will help community leaders and activists to understand the scale of the challenge and the inexcusable cost of failing to act over the coming decade.

The results reveal huge differences in road safety performance over the last ten years, with some areas achieving a 50% reduction in people killed or seriously injured, while in other areas deaths and injuries have seen a sharp rise.

It is notable that performance among the devolved administrations varies significantly, with much stronger performance across Scotland than England and Wales.

David Davies, Executive Director at the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), who are supporting the new Index, commented: “We see significant disparities in the safety record across the road network, depending on who is responsible. For example, Scotland has a long-term target and systematic approach to reduce harm by 2030, but this determination is not matched in many other parts of the country.”

Best Performing Authorities over the last decade

Worst Performing Authorities over the last decade

Notes to Editors

The Safer Roads Index has been commissioned by The Towards Zero Foundation and supported by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety. Analysis has been undertaken by Agilysis, a UK road safety consultancy.


Towards Zero Foundation
Jessica Truong
Secretary General

David Davies
Executive Director

Richard Owen
Chief Executive
+44 1295 731810


The analysis is based upon open data sources provided by the Department for Transport which can be accessed via the data.gov.uk website. Casualty data for those killed or seriously injured using the ‘adjusted severity’ data rather than the officer recorded severity, providing a more accurate and comparable method of examining historical trends. The analysis excludes collisions on strategic roads, which are not managed by local authorities.

Information on ‘conflicting vehicles’ was sourced from Road Safety Analysis who manage MAST Online. This has previously been analysed by PACTS with a description of the matching methodology available on the PACTS website.

To project casualty numbers to 2030, historic casualty data and traffic data at the local authority level was considered. For each local authority, a best-fit exponential trend was fit to the past decade (2010 to 2019) of casualty rates per vehicle kilometre travelled. Projected casualty rates were then adjusted to account for exposure, using published traffic forecasts, to provide projected casualty numbers for each year up to 2030.

A similar methodology was applied to historic casualty data and traffic data from 2006 to 2010, along with recorded traffic data from 2010 to 2019. This was done to project the number of casualties over the past decade that we would have expected to observe in each local authority if the trends seen in 2006 to 2010 had persisted.