GEM rues ‘missed opportunities’ in road safety plan

12.00 | 23 December 2015 | | 2 comments

The road safety organisation GEM has expressed disappointment that the government’s new road safety plan makes no mention of national road safety targets, graduated driver licencing and reducing the drink-drive limit.

The plan, released on Monday (21 December), features proposals to increase penalties for drivers caught using a mobile phone and plans to allow learner drivers on motorways.

It also includes £50m of funding to train the next generation of cyclists through the Bikeability scheme; and a £750,000 grant in 2015/16 for police forces in England and Wales to help build drug-driving enforcement capability.

And while GEM supports these proposed measures, David Williams MBE, GEM chief executive, says they do not go far enough.

David Williams said: “We urge government to bring back national targets. These provide the much-needed central focus for the efforts of road safety professionals across the country.

“We support the introduction of graduated licensing (GDL) for new drivers. January 2016 marks the third anniversary of the announcement of the Green Paper on GDL.

"In that time, we estimate that 1,300 people will have been killed or seriously injured in young driver crashes that could have been prevented by a GDL system.

“We are convinced that a reduction in the drink-drive limit from the current 0.08g/dl is long overdue. Latest estimates show that a reduction in the limit to 0.05g/dl in 2010 would have saved 25 lives and prevented around 95 serious injuries in each of the following three years.

“Therefore any political motivation for keeping a limit that was set in 1967 needs to be replaced by an agenda that has public safety at its core.”


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    Targets will only be introduced if the managers of the system have any real idea as to how they might go about achieving them. The introduction of the ‘golden hour’ target in emergency medicine for example was a bit of a game changer, but only because there was clear and immediate feedback as to how well everybody was doing. This feedback system was critical to achieving that target as it is for achieving any target because it’s the feedback that is more important than the target itself. With a viable feedback system in place then it is perfectly possible to exceed the original target in an ongoing process of continuous improvement.

    Just stating that there should be a 50% reduction in the number of people killed on the roads may make for a decent soundbite, but without the feedback system in place to back it up then such statements are little more than puff and bluster.

    Duncan MacKillop. No surprise – No accident.
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    Once again, the inevitable consequence of having targets is that they will be met, regardless of the collateral damage. Which is why many organisations are now abandoning them.

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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