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Road accidents cost economy £15bn

Road accidents are costing the economy almost £15 billion a year.

With each death on the roads costing £1.74 million, the total cost of road accidents in Britain in 2013 was an estimated £14.7 billion, according to figures from the Department for Transport.

Last year's cost to the economy included almost £1.92 billion in lost output and £471 million in medical and ambulance costs.

The overall £14.7 billion figure also included £4.71 billion damage to property (which included damage to vehicles), £213 million in police costs and £139 million in insurance and administration costs.

But the largest figure - £7.26 billion - was attributed to "human costs" which take into account the effects of injury such as the pain and distress felt by the accident victims or their relatives.

The total costs included deaths, serious and slight injuries in road accidents and also damage-only collisions.

The 2013 total figure was 3% down on the estimated cost of accidents in 2012 and was a new statistic contained in a summary of previously-announced road casualty figures for Britain in 2013.

First presented earlier this year, the figures showed road deaths fell 2% to 1,713 in 2013 - the lowest annual figure since records began in 1926.

AA president Edmund King highlighted the fact that the number of deaths on motorways had risen for the first time since 2005.

He added: "We need to understand what has caused this to happen, although a slight increase in traffic volumes may offer part of the explanation."

Institute of Advanced Motorists' director of policy research Neil Greig said: "The problem of death and serious injury among motorcycle riders remains and we want to see more use of training opportunities and partnerships to improve both skills and attitudes."

Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill said: "The road casualty figures for 2013 show Britain's roads are still among the safest in the world.

"Fatalities are the lowest since records began in 1926. But one death on the road is one too many, which is why our focus remains on tackling dangerous drivers and investing in making our roads safer for everyone."

Shadow roads minister Richard Burden said: "Everyone will welcome the fall in road collisions in the UK. But nearly five people still die on our roads every day, and every one is a tragedy.

"The Government should rethink their decision to scrap the last government's road safety target. Progress on reducing deaths and injuries has stalled, the number of deaths on motorways has risen for the first time in a decade, and the number of children killed when walking is rising too.

"Safety needs to be a national transport priority again."

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of road safety charity Brake, said: "Road casualties in the UK are falling - but they are not falling nearly fast enough.

"Since 2010, progress has stalled dramatically. At this rate, it will be many more decades before we reach the only acceptable number of casualties on our roads, and that number is zero."

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