The number of people killed in crashes on Britain’s roads rose by 10% last year, Department for Transport (DfT) figures show.
A motoring group described the increase in fatalities from 1,558 in 2021 to 1,711 in 2022 as “chilling”.
The rise was partly due to the number of deaths in crashes where a driver speeding or being impaired or distracted reaching the highest level since at least 2013.
The DfT attributed the overall increase in fatalities to the increase in journeys following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.
There were also 28,031 people suffering serious injuries on Britain’s roads last year, with the total number of casualties of all severities reaching 135,480.
Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust, said: “Every death on our roads is a tragedy and it is worrying that after the pandemic, road deaths are rising.
“There needs to be concerted and targeted education to reach those drivers who choose to risk their lives for the sake of a two second action.
“It’s on all of us to eliminate deaths and casualties on our roads. As well as having more cops in cars to catch people in the act, road users need to take responsibility when heading out on the roads.”
Rebecca Guy, road safety manager for England at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) said: “The data paints a grim picture of road safety in Great Britain.
“Rospa is deeply concerned that despite car manufacturers making significant efforts to improve vehicle safety, lack of Government strategy and funding means the number of people killed on our roads has reduced by just 2% since 2012.
“The distinct lack of progress in publishing a road safety strategy since 2019 is deeply concerning, and we urge the Government to publish a clear, evidence-based road safety strategy before more people are killed on the roads.”
RAC road safety spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Confirmation that last year saw a rise in the number of casualties on our roads is a chilling reminder that there remains so much work to do be done to improve road safety in the UK, even if statistically we have some of the safest roads in Europe.
“The data shows there were more fatal collisions last year than at any point over the last decade caused by drivers or riders being distracted, impaired or breaking the speed limit.
“It’s time the Government turned the dial up on tackling these issues which, while complex, result in hundreds of people losing their lives every year.”
A DfT spokesman said: “We welcome the continued decrease in road casualties compared with pre-Covid levels, with our roads being some of the safest in the world.
“Nevertheless, we continue to work tirelessly to improve road safety through our world-renowned Think! road safety campaigns and £47.5 million safer roads fund, so local authorities can also work to keep road users safe.”
Outside of coronavirus lockdowns there has been no significant improvement in road crash fatality figures since around 2010.