Page last updated at 13:35 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 14:35 UK

Road deaths fall to record lows

Cars on a motorway
The levels of road deaths have fallen to a record low

Road deaths have fallen to their lowest level since records began in 1928, according to figures published by the Department for Transport.

Last year a total of 2,946 people died - a 7% reduction on the previous year when 3,172 died.

The statistics show loss of control of a vehicle was a factor in a third of all fatal road accidents in 2007.

The figures also showed there were 247,780 road casualties - which is 4% fewer than in 2006.

According to the statistics, factors in crashes involving younger drivers, particularly males, were more likely to relate to speed and behaviour.

And contributory factors in cases involving older drivers were more likely to be related to vision and judgment.

The government's data also showed there were 460 deaths when someone was driving while over the legal alcohol limit in 2007 - an 18% drop on the 560 figure in 2006.

'Sustained improvement'

The RAC Foundation said it welcomed the findings, which showed over 50% of the improvements in car driver fatalities were in the "much-criticised young driver community".

But it said there "was no room for complacency", with drivers between 16 and 29 years old making up 42% of all driver fatalities.

Sheila Rainger, deputy director of the RAC Foundation, said the road safety community must ensure this was "a sustained improvement and not a flash in the pan".

Continuing to develop positive driver attitudes - particularly among young and new drivers - better communication between road users, high-profile enforcement by traffic police and engineering improvements at accident hotspots would help, she said.

Fundamental problems such as bad driving, drink driving and distractions like mobile phones still need to be addressed, the RAC Foundation added.

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