Road deaths rise year-on-year29 Sep 2022

Fatalities still below pre-pandemic levels, however

An estimated 1,558 people died on Britain’s roads last year according to the latest government data.

This was an increase of 7% on 2020 when traffic levels were down substantially because of the Covid pandemic.

However, the number is below that seen before the virus outbreak.

According to the Department for Transport there were:

  • an estimated 1,558 reported road deaths in 2021, a decrease of 11% from pre-pandemic levels (2019)
  • a rate of 5.2 fatalities per billion vehicle miles in 2021, a higher rate compared with 2019 and a lower rate compared with 2020
  • an estimated 27,450 killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties in 2021, a decrease of 11% compared to 2019, with a casualty rate of 91 KSIs per billion vehicle miles, a similar rate compared with 2019
  • an estimated 128,209 casualties of all severities in 2021, a decrease of 16% compared to 2019, with 425 casualties per billion vehicle miles, a lower rate compared with 2019

Amongst the data were statistics on e-scooter crashes.

  • there were 1,352 collisions involving e-scooters, compared to 460 in 2020
  • there were 1,434 casualties in collisions involving e-scooters, compared to 484 in 2020
  • there were 10 killed in collisions involving e-scooters (all of whom were e-scooter riders) compared to 1 in 2020

The numbers also revealed that 30% of those killed in cars in 2021 were not wearing a seatbelt, up from 23% in the previous year.

Crash victims aged 17-29 were the most likely to be unrestrained in 2021, at 40%.

Commenting on the data, Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“While the headline reduction in death and injury on the roads is welcome the waters are still muddied by the impact of Covid and the damping effect it had on traffic volume. The worry must be that traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels resulting in casualty numbers and casualty risk also rising and remaining stubbornly high. 

“The good news is that there are signs the Government is serious about improving road safety since in his growth plan the Chancellor announced that he would accelerate 45 safer road schemes to improve road infrastructure, this in addition to the Department for Transport’s commitment to establish a Road Collision Investigation Branch which the RAC Foundation helped pilot.”



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

[email protected] | 07711 776448

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist. All the Foundation’s work is available at:

The Foundation is a registered charity.