The UK Parliament’s Transport Select Committee has issued calls for government to show stronger leadership in tackling road casualties in a report examining the government’s road safety strategic framework. It follows the first annual increase in road deaths and serious injuries in 17 years. The Committee urges the Government to use the planned update for the Strategic Framework for Road Safety in September 2012, to reassess its road safety strategy. It would like to see more attention given to engineering improvements in road design and technology, with the Government accounting for recent increases in the number of road fatalities.
The MP’s also called for the Department for Transport to: explain in its annual report whether road safety is improving each year in line with its forecasts; highlight best practice by local authorities, in particular noting innovative schemes and multi-agency approaches; provide an update on the initial findings of the ‘Learning to Drive’ program; carry out an independent review of driver training to reduce the casualty rate for young drivers; consider encouraging HGV’s to fit sensors to improve cycle safety; look at current cycling infrastructure; report on motor cycle training and learn from previous mistakes in implementing changes to motor cycle testing in response to European directives; highlight best practice and innovative working methods in providing 20mph zones; and report on new advertising campaigns for road safety, particularly on engaging with social media.
Launching the report, Louise Ellman, Chair of the Transport Committee, said, “We are very concerned that 2011 saw the first increase in road fatalities since 2003, with 1901 people killed on the roads. It is shocking that road accidents are the main cause of death amongst young adults aged 16-24 and that so many cyclists continue to be killed or injured. In 2010 there were 283 fatalities amongst car occupants aged 16-25, with 27% of young men aged 17-19 being involved in a road collision within the first year of passing their test. If the government is not willing to set targets, it should show more leadership. Action is required to improve road safety for young drivers, including an independent review of driver training. We welcome the attention cycling has received, but there is much more to do. The evidence we gathered suggests the principal factor in improving road safety is robust political leadership. The Government’s strategy sets out to devolve decision making on road safety to local authorities, but many authorities face a shortage of funding and the loss of many skilled road safety personnel.”
19 July 2012
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