Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by RoadPeace (IT 8)

INTEGRATED WHITE PAPER

RoadPeace is the national charity for road traffic victims

  It gives advice and support to people bereaved or injured as a result of road crashes. It also lobbies to reduce danger on the road. It gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee's Inquiry into Risk Reduction For Vulnerable Road Users. It has produced a number of publications on different aspects of road safety.

  We would argue that, given the political will, it is not difficult to reduce danger on the roads.

  We would argue that, for this to be done, the forthcoming Road Safety Strategy needs to:

Introduce meaningful targets

  The current target—to reduce casualties by a third by the year 2000—is somewhat meaningless as it does not allow for the reduction in the number of vulnerable users on the roads. New targets need to be set to reduce casualties, per mode, per distance travelled.

Properly enforce traffic laws

  This has been appallingly lax over the years. Given the scale of the human carnage on our roads each year, it makes sense to include traffic policing amongst the Police's highest priorities.

  Impose deterrent penalties Penalties are too low. Even if someone is killed on the road, the typical fine imposed on the guilty party is £250. The 1991 Road Traffic Act needs revising to allow tougher charges to be brought, particularly when a death or serious injury has occurred, and so enable more deterrent penalties to be imposed.

Speed is also a crucial factor in reducing danger on the roads.

  We welcome the review of speed policy. Lower, more appropriate, speeds would both cut casualties and reduce danger on the roads. While we welcome the moves to reduce the drink-driving limit, we believe the facts show that speed is now the much greater problem and that therefore resources should be put into this. We welcome the Safe Routes to Schools Initiatives and the Home Zone Projects.

We welcome the measures to try and increase walking and cycling

  As has been shown in many parts of Europe, increases in walking and cycling are achievable without increasing casualties when transport policy is aimed at reducing the danger posed to people using these modes of transport.

Finally, we stress the importance of early action

  The Government must not delay in implementing the road safety, or any other section of the White Paper (For it all is interdependent). There is a clear consensus now amongst the general public for something to be done about transport. The Government must seize the moment.

John Stewart

17 September 1998


 
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