The RAC Foundation has issued a warning that severe winter weather may be distorting road casualty figures and masking Government “shortcomings in a long term safety strategy”.
The RAC Foundation says that evidence from previous years suggests that periods of snow and ice lead to lower levels of traffic, lower speeds by drivers who do venture out, and less serious collisions when they do occur.
The Foundation also says that sustained periods of snow and ice in the first and fourth quarters of 2010 are believed to have contributed to the highest ever annual fall in fatalities (17%). The severe weather was not repeated in 2011, and that is likely to be one of the reasons why the number of fatalities rose, the Foundation sugests.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, says that these fluctuations in statistics caused by the weather can obscure the real picture.
Professor Glaister said: “Ministers cannot rely on the weather to make up for shortcomings in a long term safety strategy.
“Even though we should be rightly proud to have one of the safest road networks in Europe, continent-wide research suggests we do not have in place the vision, casualty reduction targets, or enforcement regime to maintain our position.”
The RAC Foundation has published ‘Road Safety: A review of UK and European data’ as part of its ‘Keeping the Nation Moving’ series of fact sheets.
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