Road safety letter to The Times11 Jul 2011

Ministers urged not to lack ambition over cutting road deaths

The RAC Foundation has joined four former road safety ministers and several road safety organisations warning government not to lack ambition in its efforts to reduce future deaths on the roads.

The letter published in The Times called on ministers to follow the goal being set across the continent and aim to cut fatalities by 50% by 2020.

The full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Sir

Road deaths last year fell to an all-time low of 1,857 reflecting the long-term collaborative effort of those active in road safety and of national and local government. Provisional road casualty figures for 2010 published on June 30 show welcome improvement and should be taken as encouragement to achieve greater continuous reduction in death and serious injury.

However, the figures allow no room for complacency – the remaining deaths are preventable events. Our real aim should be for zero harm on our roads: this is the case on the railways and in other aspects of commercial life.

Compared to this rate of progress, the forecast or assumption for road deaths contained in the government’s Strategic Framework for Road Safety (published on May 11) shows a noticeable lack of ambition. To achieve the central forecast contained in this document, we only need to cut deaths by 4.7% over the next decade (that is less than 0.5% a year), compared to a fall of more than 16% in the single year from 2009 and 2010.

The European Commission, supported by the UK Government at the Council of Ministers in December 2010, has set a target of halving road deaths in the EU by 2020, which is seen as a staging post to achieving the eventual elimination of death and long-term injury on Europe’s roads. This commitment makes financial sense since spending on road safety delivers significant rates of return. Achieving this level of reduction would save over 4600 lives in Great Britain by 2020, a benefit to the country worth over £7bn.

The signatories to this letter are committed to an ambitious vision for road safety in this country over the next decade and for the longer term. We would urge the Government to implement strategies that will meet the European target of reducing deaths by 50% by 2020. That would take annual road deaths below 1000 and help us to achieve the safest road network in the world for all its users over the same period.

Yours sincerely

Robert Gifford, Executive Director, Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety

Endorsed by

Sir Peter Bottomley MP, Minister for Road Safety 1986-1989
Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Minister for Road Safety 2007-2009
Steve Norris, Minister for Road Safety 1994-1996
Larry Whitty, House of Lords, Minister for Road Safety 2001-2005

Richard Allsop, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Transport Studies, University College London
Hugh Bladon, Treasurer, Association of British Drivers
Jeanne Breen OBE, Jeanne Breen Consulting
Dan Campsall, Road Safety Analysis
Oliver Carsten, Professor of Transport Safety, Institute for Transport Studies, Leeds University
Darren Divall, Chairman, Institute of Road Safety Officers
Graham Feest, Secretary, Association of Industrial Road Safety Officers
Alan Kennedy, Chairman, RoadSafety GB
Edmund King, President AA
John Lewis, Chief Executive, BVRLA
Mary Lewis, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation
Mike Mounfield, Chairman, GreenSafe Foundation
Tom Mullarkey, Chief Executive, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
Steve Proctor, Director, TMS Consultancy
David Quarmby, Chairman, RAC Foundation
Susan Sharland, Chief Executive, Transport Research Foundation
Nick Starling, Director of General Insurance and Health, ABI
Pete Thomas, Director of the Transport Safety Research Centre, University of Loughborough
Adrian Walsh, Executive Director, Roadsafe

Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety
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Tel: 020 7222 7732

Reg. charity: 1068607

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety is an associate Parliamentary group