Parliamentary group recommends adoption of key road safety performance indicators for the UK


The UK’s Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has called on the government to adopt a new approach to managing road safety, with a recommendation that the country monitors a set of key performance indicators to show changes in the highway network.

Established in 1981, PACTS is an independent, multi-modal transport safety body that focuses on working with parliamentarians, professionals and other key stakeholders to provide and promote evidence-based solutions to achieve safe transport for all. Developed in association with the Ageas insurance group, the new PACTS report, ‘Developing safe system road safety indicators for the UK’, was launched at the Conservative Party Conference on October 2. It recommends that the UK monitors a set of eight key indicators to show changes in the underlying safety of the road system. These would support a casualty reduction target, and the government would be expected to report annually on progress.

The key safety performance indicators are:

Percentage of traffic complying with speed limits on national roads; Percentage of traffic complying with speed limits on local roads; Percentage of drivers who do not drive after consuming alcohol or drugs; Percentage of car occupants using a seatbelt/child seat; Proportion of drivers not using an in-car phone (handheld or hands-free); Percentage of new passenger cars with highest Euro NCAP safety rating; Percentage of roads with appropriate iRAP safety rating; Percentage of emergency medical services arriving at accident scene within 18 minutes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that countries adopt this approach and the European Commission has called on members states to draw up indicators by the second quarter of 2019.

“Reporting on these indicators would focus attention on the factors which most determine the level of death and injury on UK roads. They are evidence-based and would benefit all road users. They apply across the UK and some can also be monitored at local level,” explained David Davies, PACTS executive director. “We are very pleased to have had the chance to undertake this work, thanks to the support of Ageas. We have had tremendous cooperation from road safety experts and stakeholders who are enthusiastic about this new approach. It would not involve significant new spending. Much of the data exists already. It needs to be supplemented, brought together and used.”

Commenting on why Ageas financially supported this PACTS report, CEO Andy Watson said, “As one of the UK’s largest car insurers we are committed to improving the safety of roads. Traditional measures do not give a complete picture of road safety management. So, an evidence-based solution, together with a detailed set of key performance indicators on road safety, is a practical way of focusing efforts on reducing casualties and deaths. With the information in the report, we want UK policy makers to work closely with safety practitioners to make a difference in how road safety is managed in the UK.”

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James joined the Traffic Technology International team in 2017. Previously he was Assistant Editor on an engineering title for several years and has worked for various other trade magazines before that. James is happily married and has a young daughter and son who keep him busy.