Road Safety News
Road safety suffering from ‘lack of focus and loss of impetus’: RAC Foundation
Tuesday 22nd September 2015
The RAC Foundation is calling for the government to introduce new casualty reduction targets on the back of DfT stats which will confirm a rise in casualties in 2014.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, says a lack of central government focus has led to English councils not prioritising road safety.
Later this week (24 Sept) the DfT will release detailed casualty figures for 2014 which the RAC Foundation says will show a 4% year-on-year increase in fatalities and 5% rise in serious injuries. 2014 is the second year in the last four when casualties have risen.
The RAC Foundation says the lack of a national road safety target has led to a lack of focus and loss of impetus, particularly in England.
A recent survey of 34 English local authorities highlighted concerns about road safety delivery. 85% of those who responded thought the changes in road safety resources and capacity since 2010 have had had a negative impact; 76% think changes in national leadership and strategy have been detrimental, while 60% rated progress in road safety overall as poor.
The figures are revealed in a new report, Road Safety Since 2010, published by the RAC Foundation and PACTS, with input from Road Safety Analysis.
The report also highlights how despite the general downward trend in death and injury on the roads over the past five years, progress has varied dramatically across the UK.
Compared with the 2005-9 average (the government’s baseline for monitoring progress) by 2013 there had been a 19% reduction in the in the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) across the UK.
However, while in London there has been a 40% reduction in KSIs, the reduction in Northern Ireland is 34%, in Scotland 31% and in Wales just 6%. Across England (excluding London) the reduction is 17%.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Because of a lack of central focus, and faced with swingeing budget cuts, English councils have not prioritised road safety and have seen a lot of experienced staff leave.
“We also need to see more systematic sharing of best practice. Why has Scotland managed to achieve a decline of nearly a third in those killed or seriously hurt on the roads over the past five years while Wales has only managed a fifth of that?
“We should be proud of our long-term road safety record, but new impetus is needed to protect it. It was a Conservative transport minister who set a challenging casualty reduction target in 1987. We hope today’s Conservative government will be persuaded to follow the same successful path.”
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