The Government has been urged to follow in the footsteps of Scotland and Wales and adopt road safety targets in England.
Providing evidence to the Transport Committee’s ongoing inquiry into road safety, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) says setting challenging targets is an ‘excellent way of improving road safety’.
DfT figures show that 1,544 people were killed on England’s roads in 2017, the most since 2011. In addition, there were 23,825 KSIs – ‘way above’ the 2010-14 average of 21,283.
However casualty figures in Scotland are falling – while in Wales they have halved since 2004, RoSPA says.
Errol Taylor, RoSPA chief executive, said: “The road safety pictures in Wales and Scotland are a real cause for celebration, but we are seeing the opposite trends in England – meaning the number of casualties on UK roads in general has stagnated.
“This is concerning, and something we are calling on the Government to address with the setting of specific targets across England.
“We must also ensure that we are continuing to invest in engineering, education and enforcement interventions, as we know that a combination of all three is what’s needed to reach a future where no-one is harmed on the UK’s roads.”
Where does the Government stand?
First introduced in 1987, road safety targets were axed in 2010 – despite being seen by many as having played an important role in helping to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on UK roads.
However, with road casualties flatlining since then, stakeholders have repeatedly called for their reintroduction.
Despite this, in November 2018 road safety minister Jesse Norman confirmed the Government is not minded to re-introduce road safety targets.
Mr Norman said there was no correlation between countries with road safety targets and good road safety records.
He added that rather than targets, the focus should be on specific measures that could be implemented to reduce the number of casualties – such as protecting older and vulnerable road users.
‘Vision Zero’ and drink drive limits
RoSPA is also calling on the DfT to adopt a ‘Vision Zero’ approach across the UK, such as that already deployed by authorities in London.
Vision Zero, first introduced in Sweden in 1997, is summarised in one sentence: ‘no loss of life is acceptable’.
RoSPA would also like to see a number of other interventions considered, including a reduction in the drink-drive limit in Wales and England, to match the current law in Scotland.
The charity adds that enabling active travel through improving safety for vulnerable road users is also key.