Pedestrians: Accidents

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 21 June 2016.

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Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the increase in pedestrian fatalities between 2013 and 2014.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: Main Results 2014 statistical report (available at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/438040/reported-road-casualties-in-great-britain-main-results-2014-release.pdf) provides some analysis relating to this topic.

Every death is one too many. However, in terms of a statistical analysis, the specific conclusions outlined in the report are that, despite the rise of pedestrian fatalities in 2014, the increase is unlikely to be statistically significant. This means that the increase is more likely to be explained by natural variation between years in the figures. This type of pattern is typical for rare events (such as the very low number of fatalities per mile walked in Britain) in that the numbers are likely to change between years to a certain degree without having an underlying cause. The Department’s estimates indicate that the change observed was within this expected range.

There was also some evidence that the number of fatalities of pedestrians aged 60 or over in 2013 was unusually low. Therefore the increase in fatalities could have been driven by the value returning to the expected or normal level. This is a common phenomenon known as ‘regression to the mean’ – i.e. that any abnormally large change in statistics (in this case, a sudden decrease in pedestrian fatalities aged 60 or over) will revert back to the normal level after some time.

Although the provisional figures for the year ending September 2015 do not include pedestrian fatalities specifically, the estimate for the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured (KSI casualties) was 4 per cent lower than for the year ending September 2014. If this is proved true in the final figures for 2015 it will support the hypothesis that there was no identifiable cause for the increase between 2013 and 2014.

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