The government’s new strategic framework for road safety has, not unexpectedly, produced an outpouring of widely varying comments and viewpoints from road safety stakeholders of all persuasions. Here’s a summary of the comments we’ve received so far – we will add more as we receive them.
Road Safety GB – must influence road user behaviour before an offence is committed
James Gibson, Road Safety GB press & PR officer, said: “It’s good that the government has published its vision for the future of road safety in the UK.
“Road safety officers have been eagerly awaiting this new national document and the new Framework, combined with the launch of the Decade of Action, has provided a welcome national focus on road safety that has been missing for the past 12 months.
“There is significant emphasis on enforcement in the Framework and it will be interesting to see how the police are expected to cope with this at a time when their budgets and resources – like many others operating in the public sector – are under severe pressure.
“However, we are pleased to see that the document recognises that education and training remain a vital part of road safety work in the UK, and one of the key reasons why we’ve been so successful in reducing casualties. Psychologists will tell you that attitudes towards driving and road safety are often formed at a very young age and it is encouraging that the new Framework acknowledges this. We need to influence road user behaviour before an offence is committed, rather than simply punishing or trying to retrain people after they have done so.
“The document sets out a vision for greater localism, increased use of volunteers and improved links with private sector organisations. Local authority road safety officers and teams have been under, and in many cases remain under, significant financial pressure. In this new world, is vital that road safety teams remain data-led as they facilitate education, training and publicity programmes which are well targeted and achieve best value.
“New ways of working, including increased use of volunteers and seeking support from private sector organisations, also have to be explored. As an organisation, Road Safety GB will continue to support road safety professionals across the UK.”
RoSPA – seeks strong Government leadership and applauds framework
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, asserted how strong Government leadership on road safety is crucial, saying: “RoSPA believes that the DfT has taken the right decision by publishing the Strategic Framework for Road Safety.
“This demonstrates the Government’s determination to reduce road deaths and injury, and helps the main agencies involved in road safety to work together more effectively, ensuring that the significant reductions in road casualties – achieved over the last two decades – will continue, and be improved on even further, throughout this decade.”
IAM – welcomes training for novice drivers, but concerned about ‘downgrading’ careless driving
Simon Best, IAM chief executive, welcomed the proposal to give novice drivers extra training. He said: “Extra training with in-depth coaching and more hours behind the wheel will prevent accidents and save lives. We will work with the Government and the insurance industry to make this new approach a reality.
"A strategy that punishes deliberate bad driving, while allowing those who make simple human errors to improve, has our full support. But we are concerned that issuing spot fines for careless driving could downgrade the offence and we will be monitoring the impact carefully."
ABD – welcomes targeting of reckless drivers, but concerned about speed
The ABD (Association of British Drivers) welcomed the targeting of reckless, drugged and drunk drivers, saying: “This is long overdue. Such drivers are over represented in the accident statistics, and it is unfortunate that accidents caused by them have all too often been labelled ‘speed related’.
“Mr Hammond needs to study the subject of speed limits more deeply. There is no trade off between speed limits and economic benefit. This is based on the false assumption that lowering limits always increases safety. All Mr Hammond needs to do is insist upon a national standard of ‘85th percentile’ for all local authorities.”
Brake – welcomes crackdown but ‘bitterly disappointed’ at lack of targets
Julie Townsend, campaigns director at Brake, said: “We welcome the move to crack down on risky driving – which too often leads to deaths and injuries – by giving police powers to hand out on-the-spot fines. However, this proposal will have limited impact without increased investment in traffic policing, which is being drastically cut in many areas.
“We are bitterly disappointed that the Government has failed to include targets for casualty reductions, which internationally have been shown to be important in helping to drive progress in tackling deaths and injuries.”
TTC Group – proactive approach by police is ‘very positive’
Alan Prosser, from the TTC Group, said: “I think the Government move is very positive. A more pro-active approach by police can only be good for road safety. It is within our gift as drivers to choose our own driving behaviour. For those who do not drive correctly and endanger others this move by the Government can only improve road safety.”