Pandemic reduces traffic but lives still lost on South Yorkshire roads

Dozens of people died and more than 600 were seriously injured in road traffic accidents last year, figures for South Yorkshire Police show.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 11:00 am

With reduced road usage during the coronavirus pandemic, fatal and serious road traffic accidents dropped by more than a fifth across the country but 30 people still lost their lives due to collisions around South Yorkshire in 2020.

However, less traffic contributed to a 21 per cent decline in the number of people killed or seriously hurt locally and an overall drop of 18 per cent in the total number of casualties, from 3,231 in 2019 to 2,643.

Department for Transport figures show at least 645 suffered serious, potentially life-changing injuries.

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Department for Transport figures show at least 645 suffered serious, potentially life-changing injuries
Department for Transport figures show at least 645 suffered serious, potentially life-changing injuries

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And the number of people left with slight injuries is likely to be higher than the 1,968 recorded as not all crashes or collisions are reported.

The AA say the Government must do more to eradicate road deaths completely by the end of the decade while road safety charity Brake say it is unacceptable to see lives lost or changed forever as a result of preventable crashes.

Road traffic across Britain dropped by over a fifth in 2020 compared to the previous year with the overall number of casualties plunging by a quarter in that time.

But cyclist deaths rose, from 100 in 2019 to 140 last year.

A spokesman for Brake said the national decrease in deaths and serious injuries represented a step in the right direction and demonstrated the possibility of reducing casualties.

He called for better investment in vehicle safety and infrastructure, more segregated spaces for cyclists and pedestrians and appropriate speed limits, adding: "Every death on our roads is a tragedy for the victims’ loved ones, while injuries can have devastating consequences on an individual’s life.

"We need a concerted focus on reducing road deaths and catastrophic injuries."

AA president Edmund King said 2020's reduction in road traffic casualties should not become a "one-off" as he called for the Government to introduce road safety targets.

He said: “Regardless of how we use the roads, we all have a responsibility to one another to ensure people can travel safely.

"If we’re serious about a vision zero for road deaths the Government should urgently reintroduce targets so we can work hard to end road deaths as quickly as possible.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.