RoSPA, PACTS, Road Safety GB and a number of other organisations have issued a joint briefing document to help local authorities set spending priorities to protect their communities.
‘Making it Count’, which was issued on 28 September in advance of the Treasury’s comprehensive spending review, addresses the difficult spending choices that will have to be made over the coming months. It outlines the role local authorities can play in protecting their residents’ quality and length of life and offers guidance about where to look for additional financial and informative support.
Other organisations involved in producing the briefing note include the Institute of Road Safety Officers (IRSO), the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), the GreenSafe Foundation, TRL and Chris Lines Consulting.
Local authorities have legal responsibilities for road safety and are the lead delivery agent of road safety activity. This arrangement has been very successful and is one of the main reasons why Britain has seen such significant reductions in road death and injury. However, there is the very real danger that spending cuts could result in the long-term and consistent trend of falling road deaths and injury being reversed.
The argument to improve road safety is also economically-sound. The total value of reported road accidents in 2009 has been estimated at £15.8bn, with a broad illustrative figure taking the value to around £30bn when accidents not reported to the police are included.
The briefing document concludes that, with every public service calling for protection from budget cuts, long-term and sustainable interventions that make a difference need to be prioritised.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: "We know that spending is being cut and that road safety cannot be completely protected from that; every area is fighting its corner.
"This guidance will help local authority decision-makers understand why road safety funding should not just be slashed across the board.
“It recognises that chief executives have to make some very difficult decisions and balance competing priorities with significantly less money. But it also sets out the reasons why wholesale cuts to road safety do not make economic, human, practical or environmental sense."