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9% increase in Killed & Seriously Injured on motorways since 40% cuts in maintenance expenditure

KS! chart annotated

This chart is taken from Highways England’s new publication Health & Safety – Our Approach. **

It looks  as if there has been a 9% increase in the Killed and Serious Injury (KSI) figure since 2012 reversing a previous steady downward trend.

What immediately struck me was that this coincided with the implementation of the 40% cuts in the network’s maintenance budgets. I believe the cuts were rolled out area by area largely during 2013.

[**I have added the timescale over which the cuts were rolled out based on the best available information].

When they were announced the New Civil Engineer reported  that “Contractors say margins will be squeezed and that safety will be compromised.”

The Highways Agency have stated that litter can cause accidents. On page 4 of their Litter Strategy published in 2014 admit they talk about litter on our roads has fallen by 25% since April 2011. However this figure is based on the amount of litter collected. It may just mean that more litter is simply being allowed to accumulate.

Can we be really sure that gritting, debris removable and pot hole repairs were being carried out as promptly in 2014 as they were in 2012?

I have written to Highways England’s CEO Jim O’Sullivan saying:

“I am sure every possible effort would have been made to ensure road safety was not compromised. However, if you have not already done so, I think it would be worth investigating if there was any link at all between the budget cuts and the increase in the KSI figures.”

I took the opportunity to point out that litter picking on HE’s motorways continues to be a relatively safe occupation referring him to Highways England network – litter picking – deaths & injuries

Peter Silverman
10th November 2015


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