Croydon tram-style probes could be launched into all Tube and road deaths

Transport for London may open in-depth investigations into deaths on roads and public transport in a long-term bid to reduce fatalities.

It comes after 177 people died on the TfL network in 2016/17.

There was also a 22 per cent annual rise in the number of people seriously injured on the roads.

Senior TfL officials endorsed calls from Sadiq Khan’s transport advisers for probes into fatalities similar to the one carried out following the Croydon tram crash. Rather than apportion blame, they would seek to learn lessons to prevent loss of life.

There were 116 road deaths in 2016, down 20 from the previous year, according to TfL’s annual safety report. These included 61 pedestrians, 33 motorbike or scooter riders and eight cyclists. But the number of people seriously injured in road accidents rose from 1,956 to 2,385.

Dr Lynn Sloman, a TfL board member, said she was “really concerned” that pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists accounted for 80 per cent of road fatalities. 

She suggested publicising the names of all those killed, if their families wished, to highlight the extent of the death toll.

She said TfL needed “something equivalent” to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, which carried out a detailed investigation into the 2016 Croydon tram crash. 

The RAIB had found it was likely the driver lost attention during a “microsleep”.

Dr Sloman added: “We need to raise our game. Let’s understand what the causes are at a strategic level, and what extra we can do to have an impact on these people who are losing their lives.”

The rise in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads was attributed to a change in the way the Metropolitan police classifies severity of injuries. 

Previously officers had relied on their own judgment and recorded too many injuries as “slight” rather than “serious”. 

Croydon Tram derailment


The scene after a tram overturned in Croydon, south London, trapping five people and injuring another 40

Steve Parsons/PA


Police officers walk the site where the tram overturned

Carl Court/Getty Images


Emergency services were called to the scene just after 6am



Emergency services close to the location where a tram overturned in Croydon, south London



Emergency services at Sandilands tram station in Croydon

Ben Morgan


A police cordon is in place on Addiscombe Road

Ben Morgan


40 people were injured and five trapped inside the tram

Ben Morgan


Witnesses reported seeing victims stretchered from the tram

James Long

There was a massive jump in deaths reported on the Tube and TfL rail network, up from three to 55. 

TfL attributed this to an “increase in transparency” and a decision to include Tube suicides, of which there were at least 23. The figures include the seven Croydon tram deaths.

Sixteen Tube fatalities are awaiting an inquest. At least five deaths were due to medical problems. 

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There were 13 deaths on the bus network, of which at least five were due to medical conditions. One was found by a coroner to be an accident, six are awaiting the outcome of inquests and one is subject to a police investigation.

TfL, which has a “Vision Zero” pledge to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from the road network by 2041, said discussions had been held with the RAIB.

Commissioner Mike Brown added: “There is an opportunity for us to be the national leader on road safety standards.”

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