The road safety charity has called on the government to reverse dramatic cuts in road safety investment following publication of the Department of Transport's annual report on road casualties.

Reported Road Casualties Great Britain showed that nearly 2,000 people were killed in road crashes in 2010, at a rate of five per day, although that figure is down 17 per cent on the previous year.

Brake's campaigns director, Julie Townsend, said: "Road deaths and serious injuries are preventable, as such we must work towards eliminating them.

"We are desperately worried that this trend of falling casualties is under threat, and in coming years we could see more lives destroyed as a result of cuts to road safety work and a lack of decisive action from the government on key issues such as young drivers, speed and drink driving."

The speed issue hit the headlines this week as Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, announced plans to increase the motorway speed limit from 70mph to 80 from 2013.

He argued that the impact of the rise on road safety would be "marginal" while the economic benefits would be significant.

An 80mph limit would bring Britain in line with France and Italy where drivers can go 130kmph (80mph) on large roads.

Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, questioned the move saying: "There are good reasons for making 80 the new 70, and good reasons not to.

"Drivers travelling 10mph quicker might reach their destination sooner, but will use 20 per cent more fuel and emit 20 per cent more CO2, plus there's likely to be an increase in road casualties."

The safety aspect is what most concerns Brake and Townsend, who added: "This is a selfish move that will achieve nothing other than carnage and is pandering to an uninformed few.

"The best way to improve our motorways for those who need them, such as freight and long distance coaches, is to reduce cars on them."

They also pointed to a number of other key facts to come out of the report including:

  • Casualties targets have been removed for the first time in two decades.
  • A seven per cent rise in deaths of cyclists.
  • Young drivers accounted for nearly a quarter of all crashes despite only representing 12.5 per cent of license holders.
  • The UK's drink drive limit remains the joint highest in Europe as 250 people died in drink drive crashes last year.

Chief executive of Brake, Mary Williams, suggested the government should use the money that will be wasted on the speed limit change to invest in methods to prevent driver fatigue, which can cause carnage on long distance trunk roads.


Posted on September 30 2011 at 1630 by Richard. Comment by emailing: