1. Road crash fatalities and injuries have decreased
over successive decades but the death toll remains far too high.
In 2005, traffic collisions killed 3,201 people, seriously injured
28,954 and slightly injured a further 238,862.
Many of these casualties might have been avoided if there were
a higher level of compliance with traffic law.
The Committee decided to investigate what role roads policing
plays in casualty reduction and how performance could be improved.
2. Witnesses were invited to submit evidence on the
- Are traffic officers adequately
resourced, trained and supported?
- What impact has the joint Roads Policing Strategy
had on the work of traffic officers? How has it influenced the
priority given to roads policing, and the resources invested?
- Have police forces across the UK got the balance
right between technology-led enforcement and officers carrying
out road policing duties? What evidence is there that the changing
balance between traffic officers and technology has influenced
casualty reduction rates?
- How effective and how efficient is roads policing
in reducing the number of road casualties? Are police forces concentrating
traffic enforcement on the right areas and activities to achieve
maximum casualty reduction? To what extent do approaches to traffic
enforcement and casualty reduction differ between forces across
- How have technological developments affected
both the detection and enforcement of drivers impaired through
alcohol, drugs and fatigue? Is the best use being made of these
technologies? What legislative, strategic and operational changes
would improve the effectiveness of these technologies?
- How will the new funding arrangement announced
by the Secretary of State affect the work of the road safety camera
partnerships? What lessons can be learned from the experience
of speed limit enforcement using camera technology?
- How effective are multi-agency approaches to
safety issues? What steps are required to improve partnership
work between the police, Department for Transport, local authorities
and other agencies?
3. We are grateful to all those who submitted evidence
to this inquiry (listed at the end of this report) and to the
Ministers of the Department for Transport and Home Office for
appearing jointly to give evidence. We are also grateful for the
assistance of our Specialist Adviser, Robert Gifford, of the Parliamentary
Advisory Council for Transport Safety.
4. This Report sets out the context of the casualty
problem, the role of roads policing, and the relationship between
police officers and technology. It then takes examples of particular
offences and high risk driving behaviours and examines how technology
has influenced their enforcement: speeding; drink-driving; drug-driving;
driving while using a mobile telephone; and driving while impaired
by fatigue. Road casualty reduction is achieved through a combination
of road user education, improvements to vehicle design and the
road environment, and enforcement of road traffic laws. While
all these elements are vital, this report focuses exclusively
on the role of roads policing and the contribution which enforcement
can make to casualty reduction.
1 Department for Transport & National Statistics
(2006) Road Casualties Great Britain: 2005 Annual Report Back
The Government collects data on the number of collisions and the
number of road traffic offences, but it does not routinely match
the two. Back