Road accident statistics

Learn how safe Britain’s roads are.

From driving in your car, to catching a bus or riding your bike, we’re all in some way reliant on our roads to get around. But with so many people using the roads, road traffic accidents are inevitable. We unpacked the latest statistics to see how dangerous Britain’s roads are, and to show just how important having the proper car insurance is.

Quick overview

  • The total number of accidents on our roads has more than halved in the last 20 years, from 325,000 incidents in 1998 to 160,000 in 2018.
  • The majority of incidents on our roads in 2018 were slight injuries (82%).
  • The number of serious injuries on our roads is 15% lower than it was 10 years ago.
  • There were 1,782 fatalities on our roads in 2018, 30% lower than in 2008.
  • 44% of fatalities in 2018 involved car occupants.

Number of accidents

The total number of accidents on our roads has been steadily declining over the last 20 years, with the total number of incidents less than half what it was 20 years ago – 160,000 in 2018 compared to 325,000 in 1998. The vast majority of reported incidents in 2018 were slight injuries, with over 144,000 reported (82% of the total).

Take a look at the graphic and table below to see how the number of accidents on our roads has changed over the last 20 years.

Year Total number of severities
1997 327,803
1998 325,212
1999 320,310
2000 320,283
2001 313,309
2002 302,605
2003 290,607
2004 280,840
2005 271,017
2006 258,404
2007 247,780
2008 230,905
2009 222,146
2010 208,648
2011 203,950
2012 195,723
2013 183,670
2014 194,477
2015 186,189
2016 181,384
2017 170,993
2018 160,378

Deaths and serious injuries

Despite the total number of road traffic incidents falling, the number of serious injuries has seen a small rise of 2% in the last few years. However, these figures are overall 15% lower than they were in 2008. And despite this recent small rise in serious injuries, the number of fatalities in 2018 (1,782) was 1% lower than it was 2017 and 30% lower than it was in 2008.

Year Total Deaths Serious Injuries
1997 46,583 3,599 42,984
1998 44,255 3,421 40,834
1999 42,545 3,423 39,122
2000 41,564 3,409 38,155
2001 40,560 3,450 37,110
2002 39,407 3,431 35,976
2003 37,215 3,508 33,707
2004 34,351 3,221 31,130
2005 32,155 3,201 28,954
2006 31,845 3,172 28,673
2007 30,720 2,946 27,774
2008 28,572 2,538 26,034
2009 26,912 2,222 24,690
2010 24,510 1,850 22,660
2011 25,023 1,901 23,122
2012 24,793 1,754 23,039
2013 23,370 1,713 21,657
2014 24,582 1,775 22,807
2015 23,874 1,730 22,144
2016 25,893 1,792 24,101
2017 26,624 1,793 24,831
2018 27,266 1,782 25,484

Who is most at risk?

Whether you take to the roads in your car, on two wheels or by foot, what is the most dangerous? Government statistics use a measurement of casualties per billion miles travelled to understand how dangerous each mode of transport is.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most dangerous modes of transport are on two wheels (motorcycles and bicycles) and on foot. These are known as the vulnerable road user groups, as casualties are much higher for these modes of transport than any other. The statistics reveal that casualties on a motorcycle (5,674 per billion miles) are 25 times more common than casualties in a car (225 per billion miles).

Road user type Casualty rate per billion passenger miles
Pedestrians 1,695
Cyclists 5,265
Motorcyclists 5,674
Car occupants 223

Fatalities by road user type

Despite cars having the least amount of casualties per billion miles travelled, car occupants accounted for 44% of road fatalities in 2018 (777). This is likely due to the fact cars account for 78% of the traffic on our roads. 25% of fatalities were pedestrians, 20% were motorcyclists and 6% were cyclists.

For further breakdown, see the graphic and table below.

Road user type Fatalities (number) Fatalities (percentage)
Car occupants 777 43.60%
Pedestrians 454 25.48%
Motorcyclists 354 19.87%
Cyclists 99 5.56%
Other 98 5.50%

Which region is the most dangerous?

We looked at the total number of casualties for each region in England to see which areas have the most accidents.

The region with the most accidents in 2018 was London, with over 30,000 reported casualties, most likely due to the high population density. The North East had the fewest accidents, with just over 5,000 reported casualties in 2018. Explore the map or browse the table below to see how your region compares.

Region Number of casualties (2018)
South West 12,907
South east 25,444
Eastern 16,116
West midlands 13,489
East midlands 11,370
Yorkshire and The Humberside 13,993
North west 17,115
North East 5,249
Wales 5,759
Scotland 8,397
London 30,539


Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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