To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next weekend, the IAM looks back over how roads and road safety have changed since the Queen came to the throne sixty years ago.

Road Deaths UK

  • Since 1952, over 313,000 people have died on UK roads*.
  • The good news is that the number of road victims is on the decrease. In 1952, 13 people a day died on our roads, compared to five a day now*. When you take increased vehicle numbers into account, roads are actually six times safer.
  • Today’s roads would be beyond recognition to drivers in 1952. Vehicle numbers have steadily increased from four million to 34 million in the last 60 years.
  • The first motorway was introduced in 1958, with the current motorway speed limit of 70mph set in 1967.
  • Many important road safety laws have been brought in during the Queen’s reign, including the MOT test, drink drive limit, and compulsory seatbelt and motorcycle helmet wearing.
  • The UK’s leading road safety charity, the IAM, was set up in 1956. Since ’56 more than 400,000 drivers and riders have passed the advanced test.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Road safety gets better by the year, and the technology of roads and cars improves all the time.

“And I’m delighted to say that road safety still receives royal support, in the form of the IAM’s patron, the Duke of Kent, and the Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards.

“Last year there were 1850 fatalities on our roads. All of them were preventable. Spending on road safety and roads must remain a priority, to keep the UK at the top of the world road safety league table.”