DfT rules out reintroduction of casualty reduction targets – Fleet News

12.00 | 17 November 2015 | | 2 comments

Despite repeated calls from industry professionals, the DfT has ruled out reintroducing road casualty reduction targets, according to Fleet News.

The DfT has told the publication that local authorities are better placed to improve road safety, rather than having a centralised national target.

Road safety targets were first introduced in 1987 and are seen by many as having played an important role in helping to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on UK roads. However, the Government axed the road casualty reduction target in 2010.

Fleet News says there remains a “strong consensus” within the road safety community that targets can continue to play a key role in reducing deaths and serious injuries.

A DfT spokesman told Fleet News: “We are making sure that we have the right legal, education, and investment frameworks in place to make our roads safer. We have already introduced new laws, given the police tougher powers to tackle dangerous driving and are investing billions to improve the conditions of our road network.

“Local authorities are best placed to decide how to use these frameworks to make their roads safer, rather than having centralised national targets.”

Richard Owen, Road Safety Analysis operations director, said the current political administration is opposed to using targets. He said: “An example of this is hospital waiting times. This was forcing hospitals to meet numbers and was having a negative impact on patient care.

“The view from the road safety community however, is that targets do make a difference. There is a wider EU target to reduce road fatalities by 50% by 2020, but a lack of clear UK targets takes away focus and sends a message that road safety is not a priority.”

The DfT’s casualty stats for 2014 show that 1,775 people died on the roads last year, a 4% year-on-year increase. A further 22,807 were seriously injured which equates to a 5% annual increase. Casualties of all severities rose to 194,477, an increase of 6% from 2013.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) supports the reintroduction of targets.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “Road safety targets have to be reintroduced. They are an internationally recognised way of ensuring reductions are measured and achieved.”

The RAC Foundation says there is a link between the rise in casualties and reduced spending on road safety at a local level.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, told Fleet News: “Because of a lack of central focus, and faced with swingeing budget cuts, English councils have not prioritised road safety and have seen a lot of experienced staff leave."

“We need to see more systematic sharing of best practice. Why has Scotland managed to achieve a decline of nearly a third in those killed or seriously hurt on the roads over the past five years while Wales has only managed a fifth of that?”


Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report a reader comment

Order by Latest first | Oldest first | Highest rated | Lowest rated

    I would have thought that anyone reading newspapers since 1997 would have been aware of the problems that targets lead to – as in “The first law of Targets – targets will always be met, regardless of the collateral damage”.

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Wales has a current national road safety framework and also national casualty reduction targets. With regard to the question quoted at the end of the article, it is not uncommon that some Local Authorities who have had the best CR performance between 2000 and 2010 have experienced more difficulty in achieving substantial reductions in future years. I’ve not compared the stats for Scotland versus Wales since 2000 but perhaps the laws of “diminishing returns” have something to do with it? Tricky things statistics.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.