An open letter to The Times, from PACTS and other road safety stakeholders including Road Safety GB, has challenged the Government to show more ambition with regard to casualty reduction.
The letter, in response to the Government’s ‘Strategic Framework for Road Safety’ which was published in May 2011, was endorsed by four former transport ministers, road safety academics and practitioners.
The letter reads:
“The Government must implement strategies that will meet the European target of reducing deaths by 50% by 2020.
“Sir, Road deaths last year fell to an all-time low of 1,857, reflecting the long-term collaborative effort of those active in road safety and of national and local Government. Provisional road casualty figures for 2010 show welcome improvement and should be taken as encouragement to achieve greater continuous reduction in death and serious injury. However, the figures allow no room for complacency — the remaining deaths are preventable. Our real aim should be for zero harm on our roads: this is the case on the railways and in other aspects of commercial life.
“Compared with this rate of progress, the forecast or assumption for road deaths contained in the Government’s Strategic Framework for Road Safety shows a noticeable lack of ambition.
“To achieve the central forecast contained in this document, we only need to cut deaths by 4.7% over the next decade (that is less than 0.5% a year), compared with a fall of more than 16% in the single year from 2009 and 2010.
“The European Commission, supported by the UK Government, has set a target of halving road deaths in the EU by 2020, which is seen as a staging post to achieving the eventual elimination of death and long-term injury on Europe’s roads. This commitment makes financial sense since spending on road safety delivers significant rates of return.
"Achieving this level of reduction would save more than 4,600 lives in Britain by 2020, a benefit to the country worth more than £7 billion.
“We urge the Government to implement strategies that will meet the European target of reducing deaths by 50% by 2020. That would take annual road deaths below 1,000 and help us to achieve the safest road network in the world for all its users over the same period."
Robert Gifford, Executive Director, Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety.
The individuals and organisations who endorsed the letter were:
- Sir Peter Bottomley, MP (Minister for Road Safety 1986-89)
- Jim Fitzpatrick, MP (Minister for Road Safety, 2007-09)
- Steve Norris (Minister for Road Safety 1994-96)
- Lord Whitty (Minister for Road Safety 2001-05)
- Edmund King, President, AA
- Richard Allsop, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Transport Studies, University College London
- Hugh Bladon, Treasurer, Association of British Drivers
- Jeanne Breen OBE, Jeanne Breen Consulting
- Dan Campsall, Road Safety Analysis
- Oliver Carsten, Professor of Transport Safety, Institute for Transport Studies, Leeds University
- Darren Divall, Chairman, Institute of Road Safety Officers
- Graham Feest, Secretary, Association of Industrial Road Safety Officers
- Alan Kennedy, Chairman, Road Safety GB
- John Lewis, Chief Executive, BVRLA
- Mary Lewis, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation
- Mike Mounfield, Chairman, GreenSafe Foundation
- Tom Mullarkey, Chief Executive, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
- Steve Proctor, Director, TMS Consultancy
- David Quarmby, Chairman, RAC Foundation
- Susan Sharland, Chief Executive, Transport Research Foundation
- Nick Starling, Director of General Insurance and Health, ABI
- Pete Thomas, Director of the Transport Safety Research Centre, University of Loughborough
- Adrian Walsh, Executive Director, Roadsafe