One in 200 chance of dying on the road

* Secret report reveals death rates * Figures have barely improved since 1998 * Rail and air travel much safer...

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Jim Holder
27 March 2008

One in 200 chance of dying on the road

Britons have a one in 200 chance of being killed in a road crash, according to a Department for Transport (DfT) report that reveals how the death rate has improved only marginally in the past decade.

The calculation of lifetime risk for different modes of transport exposes how dangerous the roads are compared with travel by rail or air.

The average person has a one in 65,000 chance of being killed on the railways and a one in 7.6 million chance of being killed in an aircraft.

Details of the report were meant to remain unpublished, but were obtained and published by The Times newspaper.

Figures from hospitals show that serious injuries from road crashes have hardly changed since 1996. The number of road deaths fell by only 7% between 1998 and 2006, down from 3412 to 3172.

Britain had the best road safety record of any European country in 2000, but since then has been overtaken by the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway, all of which have lower death rates per 100,000 residents.

The DfT report also reveals that motorcyclists are 45 times more likely to be killed per journey than car users.

Cyclists are four times more likely than car drivers to be killed, but pedestrians have almost the same risk as car users per trip.