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Record drop in road traffic accidents in Wales, new data reveals

WELSH road accidents dropped by more than a third in 2020 compared to 2019, making last year the safest year on record for road users in Wales.

Welsh government figures show road accidents were at their lowest during the ‘stay at home’ period in spring, with April 2020 down 68% year-on-year, while May was down 65%. Casualty numbers followed a similar trend, with the largest decrease in April, 73% down.

Based on police figures, the report shows that every region of Wales experienced a fall in casualties, with South Wales Police recording a 42% decrease in 2020 followed by Dyfed-Powys – down 36% – and Gwent and North Wales recording a 32% drop.

The data shows accidents are most likely to happen in 30mph zones – 51% of all recorded incidents – and are most commonly due to driver error, followed by impairment then behaviour or lack of experience.

Road casualties in Wales have fallen steeply since 1979, dropping annually from over 4,500 accidents resulting in fatalities or serious injuries 40 years ago to under 1,500 from 2004 onwards.

The biggest drop by age is for under-16s, down 81% followed by 16-24 year olds, down 70%. However, while under-16s account for the smallest percentage of accidents – just over 1 per 10,000 population – 16-24 year olds account for the highest and are nearly five times more likely to have a serious accident.

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Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, comments: “While a drop in accidents is only to be expected with less traffic on Welsh roads, this is still a very positive report from a year when there often hasn’t been a lot to celebrate.

“What is more encouraging is that as traffic returns we’re likely to see the continuing longer-term trend of safer roads for Welsh road users and pedestrians.”

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