Brake disappointed with
government's Road Safety Statement as a missed opportunity to save lives
BRAKE, who are a UK road safety
charity and campaign group, who have expressed disappointment with the
Department for Transport's over newly published:- 'Road Safety
Statement' (replacing its previous Road Safety Strategy).
Despite calls by Brake and across the road safety sector for stronger
leadership from government on preventing devastating road death and injuries
following a recent increase in casualties, the Statement fails to include
casualty reduction targets or a 'vision zero', which would
make clear that the ultimate goal is to reduce deaths to zero.
International evidence indicates that
targets help to spur progress in road safety, and increasing Governments and
Authorities (including:- Sweden, Scotland and London) are adopting vision
According to the
DfT's Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain Annual Report for 2014 the
number of people killed on our roads rose by 4% last year to 1,775, while
those seriously injured rose by 5% to 22,807 people. Overall
casualties rose by 6%, interrupting what was a steady downward trend since
110107. As national provider of support to bereaved and seriously injured
road crash victims (through a helpline and support packs part funded by the
Ministry of Justice), Brake is acutely aware of the terrible suffering
caused by every casualty.
Alice Bailey, campaigns officer at Brake, says:- "We know from our
work supporting devastated road crash victims that every death and injury
sends out shockwaves of pain and suffering. We also know from international
research and experience that there is far more the government could and
should do, to prevent these casualties and enable everyone to get around
safely and sustainably. There is some important recognition in this
Statement of what good practice in road safety looks like, and the fact that
road safety is an issue central to public health and sustainability and that
by improving road safety we can make economic gains too. Yet we're
disappointed that the government has failed to include casualty reduction
targets, an ambitious vision, or more decisive action on issues like young
driver safety, pedestrian safety or drink driving, all of which remain
Brake welcomes some aspects of the Road Safety Statement, including the
government's recognition of the importance of a 'safe systems'
approach. However, Brake believes the government could go much further in
implementing evidenced policy to ensure senseless tragedies on our roads
fall again, and everyone can get around safely, sustainably and healthily:-
► Walking and cycling; Brake welcomes the recognition that road safety is a
public health and sustainability issue as well as being about casualty
prevention, and the inclusion of protecting vulnerable road users as a
priority. However Brake believes the government should do far more to ensure
nationwide roll out of traffic free cycle paths, area wide 20mph limits, and
other measures to make roads more pedestrian and cyclist friendly.
► Mobile phones; Brake supports proposals for tougher penalties (4 points
and a £150 fine) for using mobile phones at the wheel of a car, but believes
this does not go far enough, especially as many 1st time offenders will be
offered educational courses instead. Brake recommends increasing fines to
£1,000, to provide a stronger deterrent, and for hands free phones to be
included under the ban, in line with research showing the dangers.
► Young and novice drivers; Government plans to make improvements to driver
learning and testing are not unwelcome, but research shows the introduction
of a new system of Graduated Driver Licensing; long recommended by Brake and
recognised as best practice globally; would be highly effective in reducing
crashes among young and new drivers. It's estimated it could prevent 400
deaths and serious injuries each year if implemented in the UK.
► Drink and drug driving; Brake backs the provision of funding to support
effective enforcement of the new drug driving law, but is concerned by the
ongoing lack of action by Westminster to crack down on drink driving, which
remains 1 of the biggest killers on our roads. Brake advocates a zero
tolerance drink drive limit to make clear it should be 'none for the
road'. See Brake's not a drop, not a drag campaign.
Do you agree with Brake, or are we going to far now?
Please do email your views and thought to us via our newsroom email
News24@SouthportReporter.com and let us
know what you really think about this issue!
Did you know?
Using a hands free mobile whilst driving can be more dangerous than drink
driving, Transport Research Laboratory, 2010.
► Graduated Driver Licensing; A regional analysis of potential casualty
savings in Great Britain, RAC Foundation, 2014.