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Crash deaths down 40% since 1960

Thu, 07 Nov 2013

CAR CRASH DEATHS have plummeted over the last five decades despite the rising number of drivers on the road, figures show.

Since 1960, the number of annual deaths from collisions in England and Wales has fallen by 41%, researchers said.

There were 1,647 deaths from a road traffic accident in 1960 and 964 deaths in 2009, according to an article published online in Emergency Medicine Journal.

While the number of children who die as a result of car crashes has also gone down, from 66 in 1960 to 20 in 2009, deaths in elderly people increased.

The number of deaths in people aged 75 years or over increased from 68 in 1960 to 231 deaths in 1990, before decreasing to 109 deaths in 2009.

Researchers from the University of Nottingham, Barts Healthcare and Homerton Hospital, both in London, examined the data surrounding car crash deaths from the last 50 years and found that in total 102,196 people died as a direct result of a road traffic accident.

They found that more men than women died as a result of a car crash.

The authors point out that the introduction of compulsory seat belts, drink driving curbs, child safety seats and speed cameras, as well as the development of specialist trauma centres, will all have helped to drive down road traffic fatalities.

"However, it is possible that while these interventions have resulted in a reduction in the absolute number of deaths from [road traffic accidents] in England and Wales, they have not modified the relative differential in age of death between sexes or socioeconomic groups in those who die after [a car crash]," they wrote.

By Ella Pickover, Press Association