The Transport Select Committee of MPs has criticised the government after the first increase in road deaths for nearly a decade.

1,901 people were killed on Britain's roads last year, which is 51 more than the year before and is the first increase since 2003. Road accidents are the main reason for deaths among the 16-to-24-year-old age group.

The committee calls for action to improve the safety of young drivers and cyclists and to improve the design of roads. Safety bodies have given a cautious welcome to the report, and insist that more needs to be done.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists said the report correctly highlights the potentially lethal combination of reducing investment in road safety while scrapping casualty targets. However, it says. "We would like to see more suggestions on how to bring the worst councils up to the level of the best. It's simply not fair that people are much more likely to die in a road accident in some areas than they are in others."

The Driving Instructors Association also said more needed to be done to educate young drivers. Chief examiner Mike Frisby says: "The transport committee is right to highlight the issue of young drivers, because the system is clearly not working. Road safety education in the UK seems to start and end with the Green Cross Code, and 17 is far too late to start it again."