24/09/2015 13:11 BST | Updated 24/09/2016 06:12 BST

Rush-Hour Road Casualties Show 5% Increase

The daily commute is getting more dangerous for road users in Britain, according to Government figures.

Deaths and injuries during the two-hour periods from 8am and 4pm in 2014 rose by 5% compared with the previous year.

There were 23,191 casualties in the morning rush hour and 33,435 in the evening peak.

The biggest rise in people killed on the road was between 4am and 6am, up by over a third (38%) to 87.

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: "With more of us working anti-social hours and trying to beat the jams, our roads can be busy at all times of day and night.

"The danger is that more of us are driving tired and the steep rise in people killed just before dawn could be as a result of workers coming home weary from the night shift or getting up extra early to avoid congestion. The key thing is that whenever we are driving we need to have our wits about us."

The figures, released by the Department for Transport, also highlight which parts of England have the most and least dangerous roads based on their population.

The 10 most dangerous areas include Westminster (7,823 casualties per million of population), Kensington and Chelsea (5,058), Surrey (4,772) and north Lincolnshire (4,756).

Apart from the tiny Isles of Scilly, the least dangerous location was Wigan with 1,396 casualties per million of population. Stockport (1,412), Solihull (1,810) and Gloucestershire (1,911) were not far behind.

Data on what contributes to road accidents shows that the proportion in which road users "failed to look" has risen significantly. Last year the problem accounted for 44% of accidents, compared with 32% in 2005.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said the figures were "very worrying".

He added: "We are clear on what needs to be done here. We call again for road safety targets to be reintroduced - they are an internationally recognised way of ensuring reductions are measured and achieved.

"There also must be a greater focus on driver and rider quality and incentives for companies and individuals to continuously develop their skills."

Data released earlier this year showed that the total number of deaths last year was 1,775 - an increase of 4% - while serious injuries were up 5% to 22,807.

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: "Britain continues to have some of the safest roads in the world.

"In 2013 fewer people died on British roads than at any point since records began and last year was the third lowest total on record. There were also 45% fewer fatalities in 2014 than a decade ago.

"But behind every statistic is a personal tragedy so we are determined to do more. Thanks to new laws, police now have tougher powers to tackle drink and drug-driving and there are increased penalties for speeding and for using a mobile phone at the wheel."