According to the latest statistics released by the Department of Transport, there is a sharp difference in the road safety records of different councils nationwide.

The figures show that London had the greatest casualty rate, where 371.82 per 10,000 residents had been injured in a car accident in the capital city.

This figure far surpasses that of, according to the statistics, the safest area in the UK: Harrow, which is just 14 miles from the City of London. In fact, residents living in London are 21 times more likely to be injured in a car accident than those living in Harrow.

The City of London's car accident figures are skewed, however, by the combination of a large daytime population who are not counted as residents of the city. Even so, Harrow's lowly incident record is still significantly better than many other rural and suburban areas.

For example, the casualty rate in Surrey is 50.74 per 10,000 residents and, additionally, the rate in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, is 50.22 per 10,000 residents - nearly three times as high as Harrow's figure.

Harrow, which is situated in the north west of London, has actually promoted a number of initiatives, which includes ensuring that every school in the area is visited at least once annually by its road safety team.

Philip O'Dell, the councillor responsible for community safety in Harrow, commented: 'We run regular awareness campaigns, keeping the importance of road safety at the forefront of all our residents' minds.'

O'Dell continued: 'Our team also carry out regular analysis of roads and junctions, and work quickly to implement necessary measures such as traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, and any speed restrictions that will help to keep road users safe.'

Stephen Hammond, the roads minister, has commented on a move by the Department for Transport to give voters an idea of how effective their town or county hall has been at promoting safety.

Hammond said: 'If a council is performing particularly well then I want to see them sharing best practice with others so that they can improve and people across the country can benefit.'

The publication of the figures has been welcomed by numerous parties, including the AA. A spokesperson for the company observed: 'The value of this comparison indicator is not only to inform local residents, but also get the message across to drivers in general that the roads they may consider the safest can often be the most dangerous.'

The spokesperson further added: 'Populations in predominantly rural areas may be lower, but accidents when they happen can be at higher speeds and the roads less forgiving of mistakes.

'If it knocks driver perceptions and complacency, this new road safety tool could provide a useful wake-up call.'

Accidents involving vehicles can have a big impact on a driver's car insurance, as premiums may be higher if the driver has been involved in an accident.

For this reason, caution is advised when driving in areas known for their high crash rates. Anyone involved in such an accident will face higher car insurance premiums, which will not be welcome in such economically-tough times.