Road traffic collisions (RTCs) are a major cause of preventable death and morbidity, particularly in younger age groups. A large proportion of road traffic collisions are preventable and can be avoided through improved education, awareness, road infrastructure and vehicle safety. All RTCs involving human death or personal injury occurring on a public highway and notified to the police within 30 days of occurrence are recorded using the STATS19 accident reporting form.
There is no obligation or legal reason to report all personal injury collisions to the police, although STATS19 data is the best measure of collisions and casualties available. Some collision types are more likely to be underreported than others, for example pedal cyclist collisions with pedestrians.
Data monitored by the Department for Transport show that traffic on major roads in Southampton has experienced an overall increase between 2007 and 2019. A higher volume of traffic generally increases the likelihood of collisions. However, reported road injury collisions in Southampton have experienced an overall declined since 2007, with a particularly notable drop over the last year (372 collisions in 2020). This decline is linked to the decline in traffic on the roads during 2020, which is likely due to the pandemic and government instructions to stay home and limit social contact, with a decline in road traffic volume also experienced nationally.
The reported road casualty rate per billion vehicle miles uses the total number of miles driven on the road network to adjust for differences in the amount of traffic. In 2020, Southampton had 711 casualties per billion vehicle miles travelled on its roads, a decline compared to the previous year (784 in 2019). However, despite the decline over the last year, Southampton is higher than the national rate and ranked second highest among comparator Local Authorities.
In 2020, 431 people were recorded as being injured in road collisions on Southampton roads, a -26.7% decrease from 2019. There were 9 fatal casualties from collisions that occurred in 2020.
A summary report and slide set produced as part of the 2020/21 Strategic Assessment are available to download below. For more information on crime in Southampton, see the Safe City Strategic Assessment page.