The number of car occupant fatalities in Great Britain rose in 2001 and 2002 after falling reasonably steadily since the mid-1970s, and the number of motorcyclist fatalities has risen steadily since 1996. Car occupants and motorcyclists together accounted for 68% of all accident fatalities in 2002, compared with 62% in the 1994-98 period. This report analyses the circumstances in which car occupants and motorcyclists died between 1994 and 2002. Car drivers who died in accidents were predominantly young: 41% of men and 31% of women who died were aged 16-29. Car passengers who died in accidents tended to be even younger; 32% of men and 18% of women were aged 16-19, while a further 32% of men and 15% of women were aged 20-29. Many fatal accidents were caused by drink/driving. The peak rates occurred at the weekend, when about 60% of drivers who died in accidents occurring between midnight and 3am and 40% of passengers who died in accidents occurring between 3 and 6am had been involved in drink/drive accidents. The number of motorcyclists who died when riding machines in the 501-1000cc range increased by 40% between 1997 and 2002, but the number who had been riding smaller or larger machines and who died in accidents scarcely changed. By 2002 63% of motorcycles registered were in the 501-1000cc range. The peak age group for motorcyclist fatalities was 30-34 years while the main increase between 1994-98 and 2000-02 occurred in the 30-49 age range. Older motorcyclists who died in accidents tended to have been riding more powerful machines.

Want to know more about this project?