Road casualties will rise because of budget cuts

06.18 | 18 June 2010 | | 5 comments

Alan Kennedy, chair of Road Safety GB, is warning that road casualties will almost certainly rise because of the scale of budget cuts imposed by the new coalition government.

He is calling on all road safety organisations to form an alliance to spell out to the government the potentially disastrous and life-threatening consequences of its actions.

Mr Kennedy’s comments came after a Road Safety Delivery Board meeting on 16 June, attended by Mike Penning, the new road safety minister.

While confirming the importance that the coalition government places on road safety, Mr Penning reaffirmed the local government cuts outlined on 10 June including the £309m reduction in DfT funding.

The road safety capital grant has been cut by £17.2m and the road safety revenue grant by £20.6m.

Alan Kennedy said: “The minister made it quite clear that while recognising the importance of road safety, the cuts that have been announced will be implemented. He also repeated the message that the ‘war on the motorist’ is over.

“Clearly this level of funding reduction – which represents 27% of the road safety revenue grant – has massive implications for road safety in the UK.

“In the medium term we will almost certainly see casualties begin to rise and all the brilliant work carried out by the UK’s road safety professionals over the past decade and more will be undone. 

“But quicker than that, we could see the virtual collapse of the road safety profession – everything we do is potentially threatened by these budget cuts. And the removal of funding for new safety cameras is a major concern because they have proven beyond doubt to be an effective casualty reduction tool.

“I believe that the new government does not fully understand the implications of its actions. It is the job of Road Safety GB, in partnership with other road safety organisations, to ensure that we spell out the consequences in no uncertain terms. I am already in the early stages of dialogue with colleagues in other organisations to form an alliance to try to persuade the government not to put lives at risk.”

Mr Kennedy went on to explain that there has ‘never been a war on motorists’, adding: “The vast majority of drivers understand that they need to take responsibility for their actions but education and training are vital to change the attitude and behaviour of the others – and engineering and enforcement also have an important part to play.

“It is so important that this area of work continues to ensure we have the best drivers and road safety record in the world, and to ensure that future generations are safer road users.

“In the meantime, because of our professionalism, I know that road safety officers and everyone else involved in casualty reduction will continue to do their jobs to the best of their ability.”


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    Mandatory refresher training of ALL UK licence holders……we need to improve the knowledge, skills and attitude of all our road users. Our young drivers are certainly at risk, but that is because of the poor standards demonstrated to them by their parents and peers. Road safety professionals and driving instructors have precious little time to undo this conditioning. Refresher training will improve standards and the cost in terms of life lost and money wasted will reduce as a result.

    Martin, Merseyside
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    The implications for the Government’s cuts go so much further than just initiatives for motorists – this will jeopardise education for young people, one of our most vulnerable groups in an array of areas, highway code, pedestrians, cyclists right through to the preparation of becoming young drivers. There is some brilliant work and education programs being conducted throughout the country to install invaluable road safety messages at an early age!!

    Ian – West Sussex
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    Bring back “ring fenced” finances for ALL motoring offences. If we re-invested the money from motoring fines back into road safety education, education, education maybe the next generation of drivers will have a better attitude to their driving and be the safest of our time?

    Susan Warwickshire
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    There’s never been a war on motorists, there’s never been a war on any kind of road user. What there has been is a planned and generally systematic delivery of realistic and sustainable measures by dedicated professionals and volunteers that has reduced the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. Evidence based evaluation and analysis has been used to deploy the most appropriate initiative where it is most needed.

    Where a given measure is not appreciated by a particular type of road user, they will tend to feel ‘hard done by’; hardly surprising. What professionals have tried to do is to strike the right balance between reducing casualties, practicality, cost-benefit and the needs of all road users in the given area. This achieved by hard work, planning, a passionate belief in the core values of road safety and a bit of ‘thinking outside the box’. Hardly a war. More like caring in the ‘big society’ that some politicians are fond of using as a buzz-phrase at the moment!

    It has been reported that about 98% of health spending goes on clinical solutions and about 2% on prevention. Politicians of all persuasions have often commented that more resources should be diverted to prevention – so we attempt to ‘close the stable door before the horse has bolted’. This is what dedicated road safety professionals and volunteers do every day – some war.

    Mark – Wiltshire
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    No War On Motorist’s, no their is not.

    To have a war on the car driver then you have to make them afraid of something. To be afraid of something you have to change the way of thinking about what can they be afraid of.

    The answer is nothing that’s why we have cheeky kids in cars driving like idiots and older drivers not able to drive in a way now that keeps up with faster traffic and different ways of driving.

    What are they afraid of, certainly not being caught by the police and issued pathetic fines etc.

    What is needed is the threat of something bit like when we were at school the treat of the cane a deterrent – let’s say the crime fits the punishment, serious car crime take the car away destroy it let the crime fit the punishment.

    Neville ward Burton on Trent
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