Extent of THINK! cuts revealed by IAM

12.00 | 31 January 2013 | | 5 comments

The Government has cut spending on road safety campaigns from £19 million in 2008/09 to just £4 million in 2011/12, a freedom of information request by the IAM has revealed.

According to the IAM, the DfT is planning to spend £3.7 million on road safety in the 2012/13 financial year. This will include £53,000 spent on cyclist safety; £78,000 on child and teenager road safety; £50,000 on research into young drivers; £1.275 million on motorcycle campaigns; and £1.685 million on drink drive campaigns.

The IAM highlights that every fatal road collision costs the UK £1.7 million, and in 2011 the total cost of fatal road collisions stood at £3.2 billion.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy, said: “Right across the public sector road safety is being cut too hard and too quickly, despite the huge returns on investment. One life saved saves the economy £1.7 million.

“£53,000 is a derisory amount to spend on national cycle safety campaigns. Until we have the right roads infrastructure in place, publicity and education campaigns are one of the few tools we have to help us save cyclists lives.

“£78,000 for children’s safety campaigns is virtually insignificant. If the Government is serious about safety for these groups, these amounts must be increased.

“The successful drink driving and biker campaigns have raised awareness of these issues and they both appear to be working. The Government needs to match that kind of expenditure and take the safety of children and cyclists seriously.”


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    Eric is right – the cost of an accident is cash, pain and suffering are not. Not that we should ignore them, just stop pretending that avoiding accidents puts that sum back into the coffers.

    Another large part of the DfT’s figures is “lost output” – which isn’t lost. In a free market output = demand. Does the DfT believe that any employer, hearing of death or injury of an employee, thinks “Oh dear, that’s X% of our output gone”? Of course not – he hires a replacement so he can continue to meet demand (and if he doesn’t a competitor does).

    Perhaps the most extraordinary response I have ever read was from an academic confirming “It is true to say that my estimates of lost production do not take into account the extent to which others make it up”. Which is of course the whole point!

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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    Every penny of the £15m saved would have had to be borrowed, and then paid back with interest by generations yet to be born had these cuts not been made. And that means even worse road safety budgets for them when they grow up. It’s not a case of not saving lives, it’s whose life do you save?

    Or we could have had 300 more Police officers if the £15m had been spent differently. In this case, it’s about the best use of resources to save the greatest number of lives.

    While we always exaggerate the importance of our own area of employment, it really doesn’t help when the IAM director of policy appears not to understand the basic data.

    It’s a shame these cuts need to be made but we (Britain) are in serious financial trouble.

    Dave, Slough
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    Basically there are the stats from the government and a response with other financial stats from the IAM. Can’t disagree with the amount going into reducing motorcycle deaths as they generally represent one quarter (thereabouts) of any one year’s deaths.

    bob craven Lancs
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    I think that you are missing the whole point of the story. That is that there has been a near 80% reduction in the governement’s commitment to road safety campaigns.

    Regardless of your views on the value of human lives, it is this reduction which is both relevant and concerning from a road safety perspective.

    Rod King, Cheshire, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    “The IAM highlights that every fatal road collision costs the UK £1.7 million, and in 2011 the total cost of fatal road collisions stood at £3.2 billion.”

    These figures use notional values associated with loss of a loved one, they are not costs.

    “One life saved saves the economy £1.7 million”. Wrong again. A saving is a reduction in expected expenditure. You cannot save what you were not going to spend.

    I don’t disagree that road safety campaigns should be funded but it does not help to use grossly distorted figures.

    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
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