According to the Department for Transport there were 1,901 people killed in road accidents in 2011, compared with 1,850 deaths in 2010 – an increase of 3% and the first rise since 2003.

The figures show 46% of the 1,901 deaths were car occupants, 24% pedestrians, 19% motorcyclists, 5% cyclists and the remainder were those travelling in coaches, buses and lorries.

While motorcyclist and cyclists deaths fell, pedestrian deaths increased from 405 in 2010 to 453 in 2011. Car deaths also increased from 835 in 2010 to 883 in 2011.

The number of deaths and serious injuries last year reached 25,023, a 2% increase on 2010 and the first rise in those killed or seriously injured since 1994.

Road charity Brake has described the increase in road deaths as "unacceptable and shameful".

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents expressed concern that the increase was connected to a reduction on public spending and road policing budgets.

James Davies, a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Serious Injuries Team said: “Every death is one too many and steps need to be taken to prevent a further increase. There is always work that can be done to make our roads safer, and this should be ongoing.”