Since Britain entered recession the number of people killed on the nation’s roads has fallen by more than a third, a new report from the TRL will reveal.
To be presented at a Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) conference later this month, the report will show that the number of people killed on Britain’s roads has fallen from 2,946 in 2007 to 1,901 in 2011.
The PACTS conference ‘Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics?’ is taking place at the Royal College of Surgeons in London on 21 March. The conference will explore the casualty trends and trajectories for different road user groups over recent years. It will also examine the impacts of safety measures and attempt to assess the wider societal factors affecting road safety.
Louise Lloyd, senior statistician at TRL, will highlight the trends behind the numbers, including: how traffic volume is falling as motorists cut out discretionary journeys because of the economy; how drivers are sticking to slower speeds to save fuel; drink drive casualties are declining as people sacrifice nights out; and the squeeze on spending is resulting in a drop in young males taking driving tests.
Louise Lloyd says: “It appears that in prosperous years people may have been over-confident in their driving style, taking more risks with speed and drink driving for example.
“External influences such as the recession and weather patterns have caused people to be more cautious about their safety on the roads, leading them to drive more carefully. It is this change in behaviour which is directly affecting the number of fatalities on our roads.”
Edmund King, AA president, will look to dispel some ‘myths’ over issues such as attitudes to safety cameras, drink drive limits, and frequency of MOT. He says: “Governments and opposition parties often assume they know what motorists think in a stereotypical way, but when it comes to safety they quite often get it wrong. The driver is not always a Mr Toad or a Mr Clarkson.”
Stephen Hammond MP, road safety minister, will give the opening address, with a range of other experts tackling the ‘facts behind the headlines’.
The conference will be chaired by Will Moy, director of FullFact, the independent fact-checking organisation that promotes accuracy in public life. He says: “We can only answer the questions about road safety and driving trends properly by getting down to the nitty-gritty facts, and really engaging with the meaning behind statistics.
“We need debate built on figures and research produced to high standards, not the hearsay and faulty information that passes under the banner of fact.”
David Davies, PACTS executive director, says: “TRL’s findings are based on work commissioned by Surrey County Council. While Surrey is to be congratulated, it is worrying that that the Government has not led on such important research.”
Click here for more information about the event.