Public health

Title: Suicide on UK roads: Lifting the Lid

Organisation: Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety
Date uploaded: 2nd November 2017
Date published/launched: October 2017

This report reveals how roads, vehicles and road infrastructure are being used by individuals seeking to end their lives in the UK.

PACTS estimates that there are likely to be around 50 deaths each year by suicide on UK roads, and provides evidence that this is likely to be an underestimate of the true number.

In addition to the deaths, the report says substantial numbers of suicide attempts are occurring in some areas and on major roads. Suicides and suicide attempts can have significant effects on other roads users, emergency services and highways authorities.

This issue is largely under-research and data and awareness are generally poor. The report identifies some positive initiatives underway, including a suicide prevention strategy by Highways England. Sweden has experience in this area from which the UK might learn.

The report recommends:

Clarification of ministerial responsibilities and identification of road-related suicide in official guidance;
Changes to the standard of proof required for a suicide conclusion by coroners, and improved reporting by coroners;
Standardised incident recording by the police and others in cases where suicide or attempted suicide is suspected;
Closer working by public health, highways, emergency services and voluntary sectors;
And a review of how suicides are recorded and retained in road casualty reports (STATS19).

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