March 26, 2008
Britons have one in 200 chance of dying in road crash, says Department for Transport report

Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent

Britons have a one in 200 chance of being killed in a road crash, according to an unpublished Department for Transport report that reveals how the death rate has improved only marginally in the past decade.
The calculation of lifetime risk for different modes of transport exposes how dangerous the roads are compared with travel by rail or air. The average person has a one in 65,000 chance of being killed on the railways and a one in 7.6 million chance of being killed in an aircraft.
The figures in the report, which has been obtained by The Times, also challenge the Government’s claim that it is improving road safety.
Ministers privately admit that the official road safety target is inadequate but they are reluctant to adopt a new one because achieving it would be more challenging.
Figures from hospitals show that serious injuries from road crashes have hardly changed since 1996. The number of road deaths fell by only 7 per cent between 1998 and 2006, from 3,412 to 3,172.
Britain had the best road safety record of any European country in 2000 but since then has been overtaken by the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway, all of which have lower death rates per 100,000 residents.
Andrew Evans, professor of transport risk management at Imperial College, London, said that the lifetime road death risk of one in 200 was valuable in drawing attention to the issue of road safety.
“Many people will be surprised to learn how high the risk is of their life being ended in a road crash. We are much too ready to accept the risk on the roads as the inevitable price of freedom of mobility.”
Edmund King, the president of the AA, said: “The stark implication of the one in 200 figure means that at least one child in every primary school will die on the roads.”
“You are 30 times more likely to be killed in a road crash than you are to win the National Lottery.”
The DfT report also reveals that motorcyclists are 45 times more likely to be killed per journey than car users. Cyclists are four times more likely to be killed but pedestrians have almost the same risk as car users per trip.