Official figures show a marked decrease in deaths, taking them lower than for decades.

Good news: fewer people are now killed on the UK’s roads. Department for Transport statistics, just released for 2007, show 2946 died last year. That’s one of the lowest figures ever, even though the UK has a record number of cars. There are now more than 33 million vehicles registered, twice as many as there were at the start of the 1980s, although death tolls were higher back then.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists welcomes the figures. ‘While there is no room for complacency, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the success to date. Dropping below 3000 deaths is a positive milestone,’ said IAM Trust director Neil Greig.

Looking closely at the figures, motorcyclists feature strongly: they run the biggest risk of death or serious injury of any group of road users. But about 40% of those harmed or killed are drivers or passengers in cars.

The IAM says that nine accidents out of 10 are caused by driver error, underscoring the need for improved driver training.

But the fact that practically all cars made since the 1990s have airbags and many feature other safety aids such as anti-lock brakes (which are now a requirement on all new cars) has evidently saved lives.