Road traffic has fallen for the first time in 30 years, after high fuel prices and the economic downturn prompted millions of drivers to leave their cars at home.
The 34 million vehicles on Britains roads travelled 3.1 billion fewer miles last year, the equivalent of 125,000 around-the-world trips, or three times the distance between the earth and the sun.
It was the biggest fall on record, with the average motorist cutting their annual mileage in 2007 by 90 miles, according to figures from the Department for Transport.
The reduction in traffic volume also contributed to a record fall in road deaths, which dropped by more than 400 to 2610 in the 12 months ending September 2008.
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety said that the decline in road deaths was also due to police more efficiently targeting key areas such as speeding, failure to wear seat belts, and drink-driving.