Commenting on Road Casualties Great Britain 2006, released this morning (27), Sheila Rainger, Head of Campaigns for the RAC Foundation, said:-
“The UK has rightly been proud of our strong road safety record but a fall of just one per cent* in the numbers killed or seriously injured in the last year shows that there is no room for complacency. We must look to more innovative educational solutions, a return to on-road enforcement by traffic police, and a sustained attempt to build positive driver attitudes, as the means to cut casualties. It is not acceptable that over one-third of accidents are caused by the basic error of “failing to look properly.”
“Although casualties have fallen overall, it’s clear that intensive action is particularly needed to reduce the number of child road deaths and injuries in the UK. Over two thousand child pedestrians were killed or seriously injured on the roads last year** – the equivalent of 80 classrooms. Our children are much more likely to be killed on the roads than from drugs or violent crime, but the problem is not getting the attention it deserves.
“A new approach tackling all aspects of road safety, from car designs which protect pedestrians as much as occupants, better road engineering to design out known accident hotspots, and education targeted at the most deprived parts of the country, which are suffering a disproportionate number of these casualties, is required.
“A return to enforcement by expert traffic police, not cameras and CCTV, would also bring safety benefits. While a camera can clock someone a few miles over the limit, it cannot deter drink, drugged or dangerous driving, or give words of advice to those whose driving, while not criminal, is not up to scratch.
“Education and road safety training must start while children are still young. We need creative education which helps children take road safety messages to heart, and become more responsible drivers themselves when they reach driving age.”
* KSI casualties 2006 – 31,845, a fall of one per cent on the 2005 total of 32,155
** 2,025 child pedestrians (aged 0 – 15) were killed or seriously injured in 2006