A downward trend in the number of collisions and injuries on our roads has continued over the last five years.

Over the last five-year period, an average of 2,196 people were injured on our roads each year. 374 sustained serious injuries and tragically, 39 people lost their lives. Whilst there’s been a steep decline in slight and serious injuries, the number of fatalities has remained at a steady level over time. We attend more killed or serious injury (KSI) collisions on the roads than we do for fire or water incidents.

Our focus is on preventing and reducing the incidents that cause most harm i.e. the number of fatalities and serious injuries but also providing an effective response in the event of an incident requiring our intervention.

Number of casualties by severity of injury (Department for Transport)

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Killed 49 35 31 45 31 13 41 17 44 19
Seriously injured 468 489 483 461 470 456 422 391 348 252
Slightly injured 2361 2366 2260 2335 2361 2309 2044 1800 1503 1208


Killed and Seriously Injured Casualties in York and North Yorkshire

  • On average, 455 people are killed or seriously injured on our county’s roads annually: 417 serious injuries. 38 fatalities
  • Driver error or reaction contributes to 6 in 10 KSI casualties
  • 1 in every 10 KSI casualties is a fatality
  • 490 fixed penalty notices were issued to drivers using handheld mobile phone or device while driving (2019)
  • 1 in 10 KSI casualties is a pedestrian, 2 in 10 is a passenger and 7 in 10 is a driver
  • Pedal cyclists account for 14% of KSI casualties, increasing over time
  • Motorcycles formed 7% of traffic but account for 26% of KSI casualties
  • 2 in 10 KSI casualties is a young person aged under 25

  • 2% of KSI collisions are in a 20mph limit
  • 28% of KSI collisions are in a 30mph limit
  • 5% of KSI collisions are in a 40mph limit
  • 1% of KSI collisions are in a 50mph limit
  • 57% of KSI collisions are in a 60mph limit
  • 7% of KSI collisions are in a 70mph limit

  • 3 KSI casualties in every 10 are on urban roads, 7 in 10 are on rural roads
  • 7 in 10 KSI casualties are male
  • 9 in every 20 KSI casualties are car occupants
  • 5 in every 20 KSI casualties are powered two wheeler riders or passengers
  • 3 in every 20 KSI casualties are pedal cyclists
  • 2 in every 20 KSI casualties is a pedestrian
  • 1 in every 20 KSI casualties is an occupant of another vehicle e.g. goods vehicle, bus or coach

Analysis of casualty and collision data enables us to identify who is at greater risk of being seriously injured or killed, where the most serious incidents are likely to occur, when they happen, and why.

We use our prevention services to work collaboratively with partners as part of the York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership, to reduce the likelihood of road traffic incidents occurring.

 We consider road risk across 3 main categories:

Our road network is relatively large and remote, and includes several strategic routes traversing the county and a vast network of rural roads. The majority of fatal and serious collisions occur towards the south and west of the county on either ‘A’ classification roads or smaller rural roads, predominantly in 60mph speed limits.

Five-year road traffic collision data which uses our incident data, along with datasets from the York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership, shows that hotspots follow the main arterial routes and are in the urban towns and cities including York, Harrogate, Acomb, Scarborough and Skipton. Some of these are likely to be smaller impact collisions that will not have required a fire service attendance. There are identifiable routes which continue to have a higher than- average incidence of serious road accidents, particularly those routes which are popular with the motorcycling community.

Almost 70% of road collisions involve cars. Motorcycles represent 20% of collisions which is disproportionately high relative to the miles travelled by them.

Most fatalities and serious injuries involve cars, however there is a disproportionate representation of motorcycle users involved in serious road accidents leading to death or serious injury.

Of note is a year-on-year increase in the number of fatalities and serious injuries involving pedal cyclists. Large numbers of slow moving vehicles such as agricultural vehicles can present a risk to other road users in our county.

The highest proportion of people killed or seriously injured on the roads in North Yorkshire are males aged between 16-35 and there is a higher-than-average proportion of persons aged over 70 killed or seriously injured on our roads. Certain age groups and vehicles pose a higher risk, such as males over 40 on high powered motorcycles.

Driver error is a factor in 60% of killed and serious injury incidents. The rate of alcohol-related road traffic accidents is similar to the rate for England. North Yorkshire Police report that drink and drug driving is still an issue within the county with a higher incidence in rural areas.

The rural nature of the county means that people are more likely to take risks which is particularly relevant to rural drink driving or high-speed driving when the roads are quiet.


So what does this tell us?

  • The scale of the road safety problem in our Service area is greater than our incident data indicates as our attendance is not requested to all road traffic incidents.
  • Around 6 in 10 collisions which result in people being killed or seriously injured occur on our more rural roads – mainly on roads with a 60mph speed limit.
  • We recognise that road safety is a significant area where we need to focus our prevention activity.
  • Tackling the factors that increase the likelihood of a road traffic incident and severity of the harm caused requires an evidence-based approach to prevention activities.
  • We have a significant role to play working in partnerships to further reduce road risk within our communities.
  • Road traffic collision activity sadly remains constant though with an increased complexity of rescue techniques because of new vehicle technology.