The loss of the central government road safety grant has resulted in cut-backs to education, training and publicity activities and school crossing patrols, a new report finds.
The report, published by the Road Safety Foundation, also says many casualty reduction partnerships have come to an end and the number and scale of road safety engineering interventions have been reduced or stopped altogether.
The report is based on a survey of 30 local authorities, which found that road safety governance was ‘generally weak’ – while most of the ‘limited funding’ comes from each authority’s own budget.
The statutory framework that requires highway authorities to deliver road safety is also described as ‘weak compared with modern health and safety or product liability legislation’, and many of the authorities surveyed expressed concern that a lack of funding may prevent them fulfilling their statutory road safety duties.
As a result, the Road Safety Foundation is calling for the formation of a Highway Standards and Safety Board – in line with that already in place for the rail sector – to provide expertise and guidance to local authorities.
Kate Fuller, acting executive director of the Road Safety Foundation, said: “What comes across loud and clear from the survey is the huge variety of knowledge and expertise across local authorities, ranging from the highly skilled to those which need all the help they can get.
“A Highway Standards and Safety Board, made up of those with the most to offer, could be critical to providing guidelines so badly needed to make local authority roads as safe as strategic roads.”