In all there were 208,648 casualties of all severities in road accidents, including 1850 deaths – 17% lower than in 2009. Serious injuries fell 8% to 22,660 as motor vehicle traffic on the road dropped by 2% over the period.

The number of fatalities dropped for car occupants (21%), pedestrians (19%) and motorcyclists (15%) but the number of pedal cyclists killed on the roads increased by 7%.

The DfT estimated that in 2010 9700 reported casualties occurred when someone was driving when over the legal limit for alcohol – 5% of the overall total. The number of people killed in drink drive accidents was 250.

The most frequently reported contributory factor to accidents was drivers failing to look properly, which occurred in 40% of incidents.

The DfT said that in 2010 the economic welfare cost of reported accidents was around £15bn.