Road Safety News

Progress on casualty reduction ‘lamentable’: PACTS

Friday 27th June 2014

Responding to the casualty stats for 2013, PACTS says that the UK “no longer tops the international league table for road safety”, and adds that “progress in reducing roads deaths since 2010 has slowed dramatically”.

In a strongly worded statement, David Davies, executive director of PACTS, said: “There were welcome falls in the number of road casualties reported in 2013.

“However, the number of people killed shows a fall of only 2% in 2013 and progress since 2010 has been lamentable.

Mr Davies says the Government is “failing” and “badly needs to step up its efforts” to ensure that Britain remains a world leader on road safety.

Mr Davies added: “Whereas in the three years 2006-09 the number of people killed fell by 950 (30%), in the period 2010-2013 it fell by only 137 (7%). The reductions that resulted from the economic recession seem to be at an end.

“This Government has rejected the independent report by Sir Peter North to cut the drink drive limit, reneged on its commitment  to publish a green paper on young driver safety, and has taken little action to tackle the high levels of casualties on rural roads.

“At the same time, resources for roads policing and local authority road safety continue to fall. The Government published its “final progress report” on its road safety action plan last year yet there is so much that remains to be done.”

PACTS says that the Government figures for 2013 confirm the recent PIN report from the European Transport Safety Council which showed that the UK no longer tops the international road safety league table. Sweden now heads the table with 27 deaths per 100 million population compared with 28 in the UK.



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An interesting speech but I don't think you've answered my request for factual proof that "the focus on road casualties is simply a tool of the anti-car/driver minority who are bypassing democracy".

I will therefore assume this is your opinion, to which of course you are entitled.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

Hi Nick
I think Ex-Trafpol Keith Peat has already demonstrated to you personally and publically that the people/organisations driving 'road safety' have vested political and/or financial interests, plus they lack any credible CV in road safety or driving. Let's congratulate 30+ million drivers for their contribution to achieving much lower death and injury on the roads than occurs in the home (4000 deaths, 2.5 million injuries requiring hospital treatment) or due to clinical negligence or hospital infections. Anyone genuinely interested in saving lives needs to start with homes and hospitals before they look at the roads. Furthermore, life expectancy is related to wealth/the economy - obstructing the roads with speed limits that don't match the road layout ultimately results in 'economic deaths.' It stands to reason that, as we reach the limits of car safety technology, casualty reduction will slow down.
Paul Biggs, Staffordshire

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You say: "Hence the focus on road casualties is unjustified and disingenuous - simply a tool of the anti-car/driver minority who are bypassing democracy."

Could you pls share with readers the factual basis on which you have come to this conclusion - or is it simply your opinion?
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

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The main reason that casualties have fallen is safer vehicle design. It's true that road casualties need to be considered in the context of much greater numbers of deaths/injuries in the home and hospitals. Hence the focus on road casualties is unjustified and disingenuous - simply a tool of the anti-car/driver minority who are bypassing democracy.
Paul Biggs, Staffordshire

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Surely the argument that because there are (e.g.) more deaths in one arena, we should disregard deaths in arenas where there are fewer is false.
Andrew Fraser

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And anyone wishing to see more of Mr Peat's comments on road safety can have a look at his website:!vested-interests-of-road-safety/c109u
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (3) | Disagree (2)

Keith has equally failed to take into account the delays and disruption caused to traffic delivering vital basic services everyday by avoidable road accidents even of the non-injury type. Don't think we should be giving up just yet!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (6)

300 billion driver miles a year and only 1700 fatals and PACTS, a private lobby group, think that's not good enough? What Rod King fails to understand is that it is road transport that keeps all 60 million of us alive so 1700/60,000,000 = a small sacrifice. But he fails to account for the multi billion pound road safety industry, over-slowing of major infrastructure and whether that cost would save far more lives if in the NHS or rescue services. We can reach 100% Road Safety Nirvana, stop all motor traffic, zero death on the road but all of us would die from lack of basics very quickly. So clearly on a scale there is a cost for every 1 MPH we slow road transport but the road safety industry and Mr King won't talk about that.
Keith Peat Lincolnshire

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Mr Reynolds
Having read many of your posts I have every confidence that if you had been active on this website 20 years ago you would be making exactly the same comments about the 3650 deaths on the roads in 1994. It is only because road safety professionals, politicians and communities have aspired to do better that deaths have come down to 1754 and less than half the 1994 figure. I certainly look forward to that figure reducing yet further. I would suggest that those who have no such aspirations have little true regard for either road safety or road danger reduction.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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Mr. King:
The barrel and the dregs was an analogy. Perhaps you didn’t spot that. Every death, even serious injury (though walking wounded are classified as ‘serious’) is indeed a tragedy. But life is made up of tragedies such as aircraft crashes and people falling off ladders causing injury to innocent bystanders. Can we stop them all? Two people walking into each other could cause a fractured skull – we cannot stop them all, and my analogy was not in the least suggestive of the human race being dregs. Such a reactionary comment is unnecessary.

Those 4.6 people who lose their lives on the road every day must be tempered with the number of people miles, and vehicle miles travelled each day where NO incident has taken place and which cannot be reported because nothing happened.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (7) | Disagree (3)

Have we not seen more than enough evidence in recent years of the perverse effects of targets, including real priorities being forgotten to be able to tick the boxes?

Derek is absolutely right - every road death is of course a tragedy, but 4.6 per day is of the order of 0.3% of all deaths and only 2% or 3% of deaths deaths in hospital due to hospital failures of all kinds.

Cost-effectiveness is the watchword. In any case most of the progress on safety has always been achieved by vehicle and road engineers, and they will continue to achieve that for commercial reasons, so as Derek rightly says let's spend public money where it will do most good.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (9) | Disagree (2)

Is it quite possible that over the last 50 years or so people from time to time have become increasingly more affluent and more cars are being used by various members of the family whereas many years ago one car would have been for the male and for outings with the family at the weekend. Our own affluence has no doubt contributed in this situation. Cycling as an example was reduced due to these social changes and not because it was considered as dangerous as it is today. Making woonerfs, shared space will not help either. Without legislation that is.

When I was a kid in the 60s I walked and then cycled and then used a scooter to get to school and college. Nowadays they use the 3rd or 4th car for that purpose.
bob craven Lancs

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David Davies is correct in deploring the lack of progress in reducing danger on our roads. We do need a change in the culture of road use to cope with the enormous changes that have taken place over the last 50 years of motorised transport growth. A major effect has been the effective exclusion of people from roads because of the dangers of death and injury. This results in children being taken to school, people driving rather than cycling and generally making roads more crowded and life more difficult. If we look into the future we will see more of this without a vision of a more civilised transport system that PACTS is proposing that we need.
Malcolm Whitmore

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So the "barrel is nearly empty" is it?

1,713 deaths
1,980 children killed or seriously injured
21,657 serious injuries
118 cyclists hit by motor vehicles and killed
2,143 cyclists hit by motor vehicles and seriously injured
398 people walking and killed by motor vehicles
4,998 people walking seriously injured by motor vehicles
331 bikers killed
183,670 total casualties
15,756 child casualties

and DfT recognised that these under report actual casualties which are estimated at 710,000 in 2012. But hey ho these real people are just the "dregs"! No need to worry then! Let's all pat ourselves on the back and carry on as normal!
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (14) | Disagree (7)

Perhaps PACTS should advise the Government that it's time for some new thinking and new ideas about road safety. Obviously the old ways have gone about as far as they can go so a new perspective might give some valuable insight.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on avon

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As the barrel gets near empty, so the problems of extracting the dregs increases. Zero road fatalities might be the goal of PACTS, but real life – and death - gets in the way. In effect – human nature. The goal of increased reduction by PACTS might well be better used if seeking to reduce the number of deaths through hospital contracted diseases, heart disease, smoking related diseases, or even suicides, the numbers of which are astronomical in comparison to road related deaths. I do feel that zero tolerance is a Holy Grail of the do-gooder. Someone has to do it, but are there not worthier, more practical aims? Do they not calculate the number of times vehicles and pedestrians pass one another without incident in the billions of times such things occur on a daily basis? Stats – every pupils worst nightmare. The seeking of perfection.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (14) | Disagree (11)

What target for the reduction of fatalities would PACTS like to see set for 2014 - 2017?
Mark - Wiltshire

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