Each year, tens of thousands of people are killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents. Whenever you’re out on the road, whether as a driver, a passenger or a pedestrian, keeping safe should be one of your top priorities. But where are the UK’s safest roads?
To find out, we analysed data from the Department for Transport, looking at all casualties on UK roads over the last five years. We then split this data out by local authority area, to find the safest and most dangerous regions in the country.
There were 131,369 reported casualties on UK roads over the past 5 years. Splitting this out by road users, car drivers and passengers were the largest group, with 48,963 casualties, followed by pedestrians with 29,517. Meanwhile, there were 28,671 reported casualties involving motorcyclists and 18,237 involving cyclists.
The majority of road accidents involve people aged between 24 and 55 years old, with 60,119 casualties reported over the past 5 years – 46% of all recorded casualties. There was also quite a considerable gender split in the data, with 69% of all reported accidents involving men, compared to just 31% involving women.
Over 50% of casualties on the road occur at speeds of just 21 – 30 mph, with T-junctions being the most dangerous type of junction, with 37,133 reported casualties over the past 5 years.
Scotland and Wales came out on top as the safest regions overall in the UK, with 8 out of the 10 local authorities reporting the lowest total numbers of casualties being found in either Scotland or Wales. Bracknell Forest and Hartlepool were the only English areas to appear in the top 10.
Meanwhile, the South East proved to be the most dangerous region in the UK, with 3 out of the 5 local authorities recording the highest numbers of casualties.. Kent came out as the most dangerous area, with 3,844 reported road casualties in the last 5 years.
London came out as the safest place in the UK for drivers, in 5 out of the 10 areas the lowest numbers of casualties were found in the capital. City of London reported the lowest number of accidents, with just 12 casualties involving cars in the past 5 years.
While London proved to be the safest part of the UK for drivers, nearby Kent is where drivers should travel with most caution, with 1,687 reported casualties specifically involving cars since 2015 (out of 3,844). Essex and Surrey followed close behind, with 1,677 and 1,399 reported casualties each.
Bracknell Forest, in the South East, came out as the safest place for pedestrians in the UK, with just 12 reported casualties since 2015. Clackmannanshire came in a close second, with just 18 reported pedestrian casualties in the last 5 years.
Meanwhile, Birmingham proved to be the most dangerous region, with 888 pedestrians being killed or seriously injured since 2015. This was followed by Lancashire, with a reported 719 pedestrian casualties.
Wales and Scotland came out as the safest regions for cyclists in all 10 of the areas, with the lowest numbers of cyclist casualties being found in either Wales or Scotland. Merthyr Tydfil was the safest area, with just 3 reported casualties in the past 5 years.
At the other end of the scale, the South East proved to be the most dangerous region to be a cyclist, with 5 of the 10 worst areas being found here. Hampshire came out on top, with 652 reported cyclist casualties since 2015.
Finally, when looking at accidents involving motorcyclists, it’s once again Scotland and Wales coming out on top, with the 10 safest areas being found here. Clackmannanshire takes the top spot, with just 7 people being killed or seriously injured on motorcycles over the last 5 years.
Hampshire came out as the most dangerous part of the UK, with 974 people being killed or seriously injured since 2015, followed by Kent, with 930 reported casualties.
We used the Department for Transport's online road traffic tool to download data around casualties on UK roads by local authority for the period from 2015 - 2019. Data released in and accurate as of September 2020.
'Casualty' refers to someone who has either died or been seriously injured, as defined in the data - it doesn't include slight injuries.
Data on locations and road user type is collected at the scene, and may not always be consistent. Data only includes cases that have been reported by the police - the true number of road casualties is more difficult to track, but estimates based on insurance claims and hospital data suggest the actual number is significantly higher.
Accident rates per region may be influenced by the population of the area and busyness of the roads at the time of the accident.