Transport Committee slams Government’s road safety response

12.00 | 26 October 2012 | | 5 comments

Louise Ellman, Chair of the Transport Committee, has accused the Government of “wasting an opportunity” with regard to road safety, according to a BBC News report.

The Transport Committee published a report on road safety earlier this year and Mrs Ellman’s remarks come ahead of the Government’s response to that report, which is due to be published today (26 October).

Mrs Ellman says the Department for Transport (DfT) has failed to show leadership on road safety, and has accused ministers of trying to hide their responsibilities for improving road safety with "generalised talk".

The Transport Committee published its report into road safety in July after the first rise in road deaths for almost a decade. The committee highlighted the fact that road accidents were the main killer among 16-to-24-year-olds and called for more work to keep young drivers and cyclists safe and to improve the design of roads.

Expressing her disappointment with the Government’s response to the committee’s concerns, Mrs Ellman said: "The DfT has wasted an opportunity to demonstrate focus and leadership on road safety.

"Generalised talk about everyone playing their part to bring road casualties down should not be allowed to hide central Government’s responsibilities to keep local authorities, the police, other agencies and the public fully focused on delivering significant and sustained improvements in road safety.

"I am particularly disappointed that the Government hasn’t accepted the committee’s recommendation to initiate an independent review of driver training, especially given the high casualty rate for young drivers.

"We will also be watching closely over the coming months to see if the department provides significant pro-active leadership in other areas of road safety not least that relating to cyclists and motorcyclists.”

In response, the DfT said: "Since the publication of the Strategic Framework for Road Safety last year, the government has continued to focus on its vision of empowering local decision-makers, improving driver training and a more targeted approach to enforcement."


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    Is it about the actual training that young drivers are getting or is it about the young drivers attitude that they gain after passing their test? We see experienced drivers driving badly, breaking the law, speeding to unacceptable levels, using their mobile phones whilst driving etc. These young drivers with better knowledge than the experienced drivers start to copy these bad habits, due to their slower response time, inexperience copying others and maybe pushing the limits further mean they get involved in collisions.

    When I passed my test many years ago guess I copied others, however seeing regular policing on the roads made me always question am I driving correctly? Now I can drive for weeks without seeing policing on the UK roads, in fact if I see a policeman driving I can often find fault with their driving. Does this make a difference?

    I don’t think you will find your answer by just looking at the way young drivers are trained, it is a mixture of things. After all the UK driving test, theory and practical has been changing to try and address these issues for many years now, I guess you’re saying this does not work then?

    Please don’t just blame trainers for poor training of young drivers, have a look at the bigger picture.

    Anthony Coles
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    ‘Ere we go again’. It’s like continually going round in circles because they won’t address the core issues. And until they do things will probably go on much as they are, or get worse and the government cum road safety organizations will spend a lot of time and money on all sorts of wonderful ideas which have little or no real impact. It makes sense to get solid foundations in place and then you can build your house.

    Nigel Albright
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    “I am particularly disappointed that the Government hasn’t accepted the committee’s recommendation to initiate an independent review of driver training, especially given the high casualty rate for young drivers”.

    Wonder why?

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon.
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    This is an important issue that your Road Safety GB Board and Officers raise with DfT reps whenever we meet them e.g. at our P&M meetings and the quarterly DfT Implementation Group meetings that I attend on your behalf. We have had some success and certainly a much more understanding response of late but we are also aware that staffing is in a state of flux for DfT at present with key contacts on short term contracts etc which doesn’t help.

    Rest assured that we will keep working hard on this as we recognise it is essential to have better cooordination and more advanced notice of themes and outline content for efficient and cost effective delivery.

    Honor Byford, Vice Chair, RSGB
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    It would be useful if the DfT could communicate better with local authority road safety teams to avoid duplication of work around campaigns and initiatives. Knowing there’s a national campaign coming but not being told what it comprises or what media they’ll be using makes planning local work more difficult.

    Dave, Leeds
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