The figures, released to Paul Flynn MP by Steven Norris, the road safety minister, were collec-ted by 29 of Britain's 50 police forces after ministerial concern about the use of bull bars. The other forces refused to comply with a Department of Transport request to supply the figures.
A study by the Transport Research Laboratory suggests there will be an additional 35 deaths each year on the roads if bull bars - metal grilles attached to the front of vehicles - are fitted at the present rate of growth.
In the area covered by forces that took part in the survey, about half Britain's 234,101 accidents involving death or injury occurred. As there were 21 deaths and 195 serious injuries in accidents involving a vehicle fitted with a bull bar, research suggests there were about double these numbers nationwide.
The Transport Research Laboratory will obtain reports of these accidents to see if bull bars were a significant factor in death or injury. The statistics suggest that accidents involving bull bars cause more serious injuries and deaths than others. Of 967 accidents reported involving bull bars, there were 216 serious injuries or deaths - 22.3 per cent. Of the 116,169 accidents with no bull bars, only 19.4 per cent resulted in death or serious injury.