RoSPA publishes road safety guide for Scottish councillors

12.00 | 27 August 2014 | | 3 comments

RoSPA has published a free “step-by-step guide to help local councillors in Scotland prevent road tragedies”.

The charity has joined forces with Transport Scotland to publish Road Safety: A Guide for Local Councillors in Scotland, which is designed to help elected member develop road safety within their ward.

RoSPA says that although it is aimed at local councillors in Scotland, the guide will also be useful to others involved in reducing road casualties.

The guide sets out to demonstrate how local authorities can continue to deliver effective road safety services by using evidence, co-ordinating with other public services, designing and delivering projects in partnership, and evaluating the effectiveness of their work.

Sandy Allan, RoSPA’s road safety manager in Scotland, said: “The document will prove essential to new and serving councillors who are looking for more information on how to save lives and reduce injuries on the roads in their wards.

“It is particularly important in the current climate of change and budget restraints for those allocating resources or making policies on behalf of our communities to have a full understanding of what’s available. This document will provide the necessary information to enable informed decisions.”


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    Is “speed kills” being re branded as the “Safe System Approach”, otherwise known as “speed management”? The RoSPA paper advocates further implementation of “speed management” despite there being no good quality evidence that it has worked where it has been tried.

    This raises a dilemma. RoSPA states (p8/38) “Ensure Road Safety Services are Evidenced-based” but they fail to propose methods that could produce the evidence they suggest is required while, at the same time, they advocate policies for which the evidence base is poor.

    Dave Finney, Slough
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    It is entirely correct to look first at an issue from a purely casualty reduction perspective using data and other factual evidence. Having done so, it is then also correct, indeed essential, to consider any proposed actions or inactions, against wider issues for the site/route/community which must include sustainable travel and human factors which includes perceptions of safety. Although more difficult to address, perceptions of safety are real and valid issues because they affect how people make decisions about how they travel or even if they make a journey at all.

    The principles of road safety audit use both theory, evidence and then, at Stage 3, how a scheme is used in practice – whether this is how the designer intended or not, because how people perceive a scheme forms the basis of their decisions and actions.

    Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB
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    Interesting paragraph in the document says “Road Safety Officers will be able to present the evidence, but if it shows a perceived problem in an area is not actually a road safety problem at all, this can be a difficult message for a Council/councillor to convey. A perceived problem, however, may be a real barrier to people choosing to walk and cycle, and therefore, may justify action as part of the council’s overall sustainable travel strategy”.

    According to the document road safety provision must be evidence based, but am I right in saying that if the evidence does not fit the perception then the evidence may be discarded? If that is the case how much evidence has actually been discarded because it does not meet people’s perceptions?

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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