Manifesto launch and stakeholder support – Global Road Safety Week gets underway

12.00 | 9 May 2017 |

The launch of a new road safety manifesto was a highlight from day one of the fourth UN Global Road Safety Week, which got underway yesterday (8 May).

The bi-annual event (8-14 May), which asks drivers to #SlowDown, aims to ‘increase understanding of the dangers of speed and generate action on measures to address speed, thereby saving lives’.

Day one also saw messages of support from a number of UK stakeholders including Brake, GEM, and 20’s Plenty for Us, with the latter suggesting 20mph limits are required for authorities to meet ‘duty of care’ responsibilities.

Brake supports launch of global road safety manifesto
Brake is giving its ‘wholehearted support’ to the global Manifesto #4roadsafety, which calls for proven and urgent measures to tackle the 3,500 deaths on roads each day across the world.

Launched yesterday (8 May), the manifesto predicts that the UN is unlikely to meet its target to halve road deaths by 2020.

Brake supports the manifesto’s call for governments to set casualty reduction targets, and for increased funding for road safety that will benefit particularly low and middle-income countries, including setting up a UN Road Safety Trust Fund.

Mary Williams OBE, Brake chief executive, said: “The solutions to tackle carnage on our roads are with us today and the time for action is now.

“They require governments to pass life-saving laws, and invest comparatively small amounts of money compared with the enormous cost of loss of life. Change has to happen at the top, and it has to happen urgently; the United Nations must lead the way, and governments must take action.”

20mph limits required for authorities to meet ‘duty of care’ responsibilities
The campaign group 20’s Plenty for Us says the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) call for 30km/h (20mph) limits as best practice where motorised traffic mixes with pedestrians and cyclists ‘confirms the evidence that a 30mph limit permits speeds which are not consistent with the Common Law duty of councils to protect people when creating, designing or maintaining highways’.

Rod King MBE, founder of 20’s Plenty for Us, is calling for local and national governments to “follow WHO best practice and implement wide-area 20mph limits as a default with strong enforcement”.

Rod King said: “There is clear and compelling evidence that 30mph limits expose our children to unacceptable dangers from traffic in direct casualties, effect of emissions and suppression of mobility rights. Already many authorities have shown that setting 20mph limits is effective, affordable and popular.

“Where a council allows vehicle speed above 20mph by refusing to implement such limits where children live, learn and play then society should hold them morally responsible and legally culpable for child casualties when crossing roads and the effects of poor air quality.” 

GEM calls on motorists to reflect on the speeds they choose
GEM Motoring Assist is using Global Road Safety Week to encourage all drivers and riders to take responsibility for the speeds they use.

WHO says that one in three road deaths in high income countries is due to speed, and that between 40 and 50% of people drive above the speed limit.

Neil Worth, road safety officer at GEM Motoring Assist, said: “The speeds we use as drivers and riders are entirely our own choice. No one can force us to drive above the speed limit or at a speed that’s inappropriate for the conditions. So we urge everyone to take a moment and think about speed and the consequences of going too fast.

“In particular we want to see a reduction in vehicle speeds on roads where children are at significant risk. This can be achieved through a combination of community engagement, good engineering and education. There also needs to be a real threat of enforcement to deter those drivers unwilling to heed the messages."

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