The Government has been harshly criticised following the release of Department for Transport (DfT) figures that show 1,775 people died on British roads last year: an increase of 4 per cent over the 2013 statistics. Serious injuries also increased by 5 per cent over the previous year, reaching 22,807, the first increase in overall casualties since 1997. Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive for road safety charity Brake, said: 'We should be under no illusions as to the seriousness of these figures.' 'The Government needs to get a grip of this situation and it can start by reintroducing ambitious casualty reduction targets, with an ultimate aim of reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads to zero.' The coalition government scrapped road safety targets in 2010, and the current Conservative administration was quoted as saying that it didn't need 'an arbitrary number' to prove that it was committed to saving lives. Neil Greig, the director of policy and research for the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), said: '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.î The fleet industry has called for a re-introduction of safety targets as part of its Fleet Industry Manifesto, which was published just before the last general election took place. Alan Prosser, director of the TTC Group, said: 'Every year there are more than 500 deaths and thousands of people injured driving at work.' 'Nearly all these casualties are preventable and it's costing companies millions. The human cost is incalculable.' An alternative argument is that the increase in fatalities and injuries is down to the increase in overall traffic itself, which increased by 2.4 per cent in 2014.