Increase in road deaths should be ‘wake-up call’

Increase in road deaths should be ‘wake-up call’
MPs on the Transport Select Committee says recent increases in road deaths should be a ‘wake-up call’ for Government to improve road safety leadership.
Road deaths increased in 2011 for the first time since 2003, with younger people at particular risk – road accidents are the MAIN CAUSE of death amongst 16-24 year olds.
“27% of young men aged 17-19 are involved in a road collision within the first year of passing their test,” said Louise Ellman, Chair of the Transport Committee. “In 2010, there were 283 fatalities amongst car occupants aged 16-25.
“If the government is not willing to set targets, it should show more leadership.”
According to the Committee, the biggest factor in improving road safety is strong political leadership. This should include encouraging groups such as local authorities and health authorities to work together, and ministerial exposure for good examples of best practice in road safety.
The Committee also questioned the government’s strategy to devolve road safety decision making to local authorities, at a time where many ‘face a shortage of funding and the loss of many skilled road safety personnel’.
There is an opportunity for action coming up, adds the Committee – in September, the Strategic Framework for Road Safety is due to be updated. The government has the chance here to give more attention to improvements in road design and technology.
The government should also be forced to account for recent increases in the number of road fatalities, and also explain each year in its annual report whether road safety is both improving as in line with its forecast.
Recent discussions about increasing the motorway speed limit were also addressed: any proposal should follow ONLY once approved by MPs in the House of Commons…
IAM chief executive Simon Best is one who welcomes the Select Committee’s damming report. “It highlights the lethal combination of reducing investment in road safety while scrapping casualty targets.”
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