MPs say rise in road deaths should be a wake-up call for government
Parliament's Transport Select Committee has issued calls for government to show stronger leadership in tackling road casualties in a report examining the government's road safety strategic framework. It follows the first annual increase in road deaths and serious injuries in 17 years.
It reads: 'These casualty figures should be a wake-up call for the government to step up and provide stronger leadership in the road safety field'.
Julie Townsend, Brake Deputy Chief Executive, said: "It is horrifying and unacceptable that more people are dying and being maimed on our roads. These violent deaths and injuries cause unimaginable suffering, are a costly drain on health and emergency services, and yet they are preventable.
"Successful road safety measures are a critical investment that can deliver a range benefits to society and the economy, yet in recent years we have seen dramatic cuts in road safety funding, casualty reduction targets abandoned, and a lack of decisive action on many key issues.
"We urge the government to give far greater priority to improving road safety, and show greater determination in preventing devastating and costly casualties. In particular, we need to see far more done to make roads and communities safer for walking and cycling, and to tackle the horrendous number of young driver crashes we see on our roads."
On young drivers, the Select Committee said: 'The government should be taking more radical action to address young driver crashes and casualties. We recommend that the government initiate an independent review of driver training to assess thoroughly the various options put forward to reduce the casualty rate for young drivers and make recommendations about which are likely to be most effective. We recommend this review be completed before the end of this parliament'.
Julie Townsend said: "Young drivers are involved in a huge proportion of serious road crashes, and often young people themselves are the tragic victims. The government must act decisively to tackle these crashes. Brake recommends a system of graduated licensing, including a minimum learning to drive period, so young drivers build experience gradually while less exposed to the riskiest situations. It's been predicted this system could save 200 lives a year in Britain."
Walking and cycling
On cycling safety, the Select Committee said: 'There does not appear to be a defined action plan to reduce cycle casualties'. The Committee's recommendations include: 'Look at cycling infrastructure, with the department responding to the 8 points of The Times cycle campaign' and 'highlight best practice and innovative working methods in providing 20 mph zones'.
Julie Townsend said: "Making walking and cycling safer should be a key priority for government, to prevent needless casualties, and encourage more active lifestyles and sustainable transport. We are calling on the government to proactively encourage and fund more widespread 20mph limits and safe walking and cycling routes connecting homes with workplaces and community facilities. This could have a huge impact in reducing road casualties and enabling better quality of life."
80mph motorwaysOn 80mph motorways, the Select Committee said: '[The government should] calculate the costs associated with stricter enforcement of an 80mph limit and creating more variable speed limits on sections of the motorway network deemed inappropriate to see an increase to 80mph.
'It is now time for the DfT to publish its consultation document or to explain the reason for delay. Any decision to increase the speed limit should follow a debate in the House on a votable motion'.
Julie Townsend said: "80mph motorways are unlikely to help the economy, but they would mean more deaths and serious injuries on our motorways and more carbon pumped into our atmosphere. It's the wrong message to send out to drivers, particularly at a time when casualties on roads are increasing. Brake calls on the government to drop plans for 80mph motorways, which are dangerous, costly and environmentally unfriendly."
Posted July 19th, 2012 at 1410 by Andrew. Comment by emailing email@example.com
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