The number of people killed and seriously injured (KSI) on roads in Kent and Medway has gone down – but bad driving has seen a rise in serious crashes.
Newly released figures show the number of people killed and seriously injured decreased by 1% in 2015 compared to the previous year.
The number of KSI crashes fell by 2% – 637 in 2015 and 647 in 2014.
However, despite many years of decrease and the long term downward trend, the number of 17-24 year-olds killed or seriously injured as car occupants increased by 16% from 51 in 2014 to 59 in 2015.
This age group continues to be overrepresented in crash statistics – making up 23% of all car occupant KSI casualties in Kent in 2015.
In 2015 707 people were killed and seriously injured (KSI) on all roads in Kent and Medway – including motorways and A roads managed by Highways England – compared to 715 in 2014.
Most incidents are still down to driver behaviour.
Research shows that three-quarters of injury crashes occur solely as a result of behavioural factors – the choices people make, such as driving under the influence of drink or drugs, using a mobile phone or going above the speed limit.
Overall, 95% of all crashes include some element of poor road user behaviour in the cause.
The Kent figures show that the proportion of serious crashes caused by driver or rider behaviour increased in 2015 compared to the previous year.
Steve Horton, Casualty Reduction Manager at Kent County Council, said, “On the road, one mistake or a moment’s inattention can have tragic consequences, and human error is a factor in 95% of crashes.
“Too many people are involved in crashes on Kent’s roads and our One Road For All campaign aims to show how we can all help reduce that number by being more patient, being more alert to other road users and by sharing the road safely.”
In contrast, the proportion of crashes caused due to the road environment and factors attributed to pedestrians not taking sufficient care reduced last year – although incidents attributed to pedestrian impairment through alcohol and drugs have increase from 2014.
The long-term KSI casualty trend for Kent remains downwards, falling 50% between 1994 and 2015.
The 12 month period saw a year-on-year reduction in casualties for road users including motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, car occupants, under 16’s and those aged over 65.
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport Matthew Balfour said: “These crashes have a life-changing impact for those involved and their families.
“We constantly strive to keep road users as safe as possible on Kent’s roads.
“Research clearly shows that the vast majority are caused by poor driving or other human factors.
“It is vital that we all recognise the way we drive, ride or walk plays a big part in helping us or our relatives to avoid becoming a road casualty.”
In Kent, the Casualty Reduction Partnership (CaRe) brings key agencies together to coordinate road safety activity and seeks to continue the long term trend in reducing road casualties.
CaRe is a partnership between Kent Police, Highways England, Kent County Council, Medway Council and Kent Fire & Rescue Service.
Inspector Kevin Dyer from Kent Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “Kent Police is committed to working with its partners within the Casualty Reduction Partnership to reduce the number of casualties on our roads through educating motorists, enforcing the law and providing advice to those who manage the highways.
“However, motorists and road users have to play their part too – nine out of 10 collisions are because of human error and although our roads are becoming safer, one seriously injured or killed road user is one too many.”
The partners come together to target key road user groups with education and enforcement activity, with campaigns scheduled to run throughout the year focused on speed, seatbelt use, drink and drug impairment and drivers who use mobile phones.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service Director of Operations Sean Bone-Knell said: “Kent Fire and Rescue Service is committed to promoting road safety initiatives and interventions in collaboration with our partners to drive down the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads of Kent and Medway.
“With our new, purpose-built interactive road safety education centre, The Road Safety Experience, we aim to influence the attitudes and behaviours of young road users to help them become responsible drivers and passengers.”
Cllr Phil Filmer, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services, said: “Every single driver in Kent and Medway plays a role in keeping our roads safe.
“We all have a duty to drive with care and while a majority of people do, it’s the few who make bad choices who end up causing serious accidents.
“While the number of deaths in Medway alone hasn’t risen in the last year, there has been an increase in the number of people seriously injured on the roads in Medway and that is why it’s so important that we all continue to work together with our partners to educate new and existing drivers about road safety and responsible driving.”