27 February 2022

Hundreds of road crash victims suffer broken necks, lost limbs or deep wounds

27 February 2022

The number of road crash victims who suffer life-changing injuries such as broken necks, lost limbs and deep, penetrating wounds has been revealed for the first time.

Figures published by the Department for Transport (DfT) illustrate the severe consequences of collisions on Britain’s roads.

The statistics analysed by the PA news agency reveal the most severe injuries suffered by road casualties in 2020, broken down into 20 categories.

Among those injuries described as “very serious” or “moderately serious” were:– Broken neck or back (521 people)– Severe head injury (399 people)– Deep penetrating wound (81 people)– Loss of entire or part of arm or leg (35 people)– Fractured pelvis or upper leg (786 people)

Whiplash was the most common injury with 13,358 cases, representing nearly a quarter of everyone injured or killed on Britain’s roads in 2020.

Other common injuries described as “slight” or “less serious” include deep cuts (729 people), fractured arms, collarbones or hands (2,403 people) and sprains and strains (9,246).

Severe head injuries were more frequent among injured pedestrians (2%) and cyclists (1.7%) than car occupants (0.3%).

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “This breakdown shows just how many people suffer life-changing injuries even though they survive road collisions.

“Putting numbers on the type and extent of injuries being suffered should help us design safer vehicles and roads.”

The figures include periods when road traffic was lighter than normal due to coronavirus restrictions.

They are based on data from police forces using injury reporting systems, which is only around half.

That means the true number of crash victims suffering each type of injury will be much higher.

Mr Gooding urged all police forces to adopt injury reporting systems as they will be “crucial to the success” of the Road Collision Investigation Branch proposed by the DfT to establish the causes of crashes and make safety recommendations.

Jason Wakeford, head of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said serious injuries from road crashes have “life-changing, long-term impacts for families up and down the country” as they “tear apart lives and livelihoods”.

He continued: “While these figures start to show deeper insight into serious injuries, it’s important that further evidence is collected to better understand the longer-term impacts of road collisions on people, the economy and public services.”

Mr Wakeford stressed the importance of crash victims and their families receiving “proper emotional and practical support”.

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