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UK: Fatal Accidents Up in 2006
UK Department for Transport statistics showed an increase in fatal traffic accidents in 2006.

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According to provisional estimates released today by the UK Department for Transport, the number of fatal traffic accidents in Great Britain rose last year. There were 2920 fatal accidents last year compared to 2913 in 2005. Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign argued that this is proof that the government's policy of relying on speed cameras to save lives has been a failure.

"Fatal crashes should not be up," Smith said. "We know we're putting safer cars on the roads every year; we know we're continuing to improve road engineering and we know we continue to improve at post-crash care and rescue. In the past these factor drove down road risks very markedly, with deaths falling year after year."

The Department for Transport issued a statement pointing to a slight reduction in the total number of people who died on the road last year and a decrease in serious injury accidents as evidence that the department's policies have been a success.

The discrepancy between the total number of fatalities and the number of fatal accidents could be explained in a number of ways. Although there were more accidents that caused fatalities, if the vehicles involved carried fewer passengers the total number of casualties would be less. Last year, the official UK Statistics Commission issued a notice that brought into question the accuracy of the department's injury statistics (read notice). It suggested an undercounting of injuries in police reporting could hinder the public's ability to monitor the government's progress toward road safety goals.

"Modern road safety policy, particularly speed cameras, criminalizes millions and increases road deaths," Smith said. "Thousands have died needlessly because life saving resources have been squandered."

Source: PDF File Road Casualties Great Britain 2006, Quarterly Estimates (Department for Transport, 5/10/2007)

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