Road Safety - Transport Committee Contents


Conclusions and recommendations


Leadership

1.  The Department should provide a clearer explanation of the role of casualty forecasts in its road safety strategy. We recommend that it set out in its annual report whether road safety is improving each year in line with its forecasts, or, if not, explain what is going wrong. The Government should also state what action it will take if its road safety forecasts turn out to be inaccurate. (Paragraph 13)

Localism

2.  As part of its evaluation of the Strategic Framework for Road Safety, the Government should publish an analysis of the resources used for road safety at a local level to highlight best practice by local authorities, in particular noting innovative practices and multi-agency approaches to achieving road safety goals. (Paragraph 17)

3.  The Government should explain how it intends to measure which are the worst performing local authorities and how it expects "naming and shaming" them will improve their performance. (Paragraph 18)

Young drivers

4.  We recommend that the Department provides an update of the initial findings of the Learning to Drive programme with its response to this report. (Paragraph 24)

Conclusion

5.  We recommend that the Government initiate an independent review of driver training to assess thoroughly the various options put forward to reduce the casualty rate for young drivers and make recommendations about which are likely to be most effective. We recommend this review be completed before the end of this Parliament. (Paragraph 29)

Cycle safety

6.  The Government should consider how to encourage greater adoption of these measures. (Paragraph 32)

7.  We agree that joint working between departments will be necessary to achieve road safety outcomes. We recommend that the Government shows how its efforts to work in partnership with departments such as DCLG and local authorities have been effective in encouraging the provision of cycle infrastructure and outlines which problems in securing this joint-working have yet to be overcome. (Paragraph 37)

8.  Given the Prime Minister's support for The Times cycle campaign, we recommend that the department issue a formal response to each of its eight points showing how they are being addressed and, if a point is not being acted on, what alternative action is being taken to address the matter. (Paragraph 38)

9.  Prior to The Times campaign on cycle safety it was difficult to see how the Government was showing leadership in cycle safety. There is now evidence of commitment, but, as Jon Snow said, leadership requires joining up Government. We are not convinced that this is happening and therefore there is much work still to be done. (Paragraph 40)

Motorcycle safety

10.  We recommend that the DfT should, in its reply to this report, explain what lessons it has learnt from [the delay to revising the motorcycle test] and how it will go about implementing future European directives on the subject of driver or rider training without undue delay. (Paragraph 42)

11.  We recommend that the department write to us on a quarterly basis to explain progress in this area. (Paragraph 43)

Speed limits

12.  The Government should encourage the development of inter-agency partnerships and include examples of best practice in securing joint working in its forthcoming guidance for local authorities. (Paragraph 46)

13.  We recommend that as part of its consultation the Government calculates the costs associated with stricter enforcement of an 80 mph limit and creating more variable speed limits on sections of the motorway network deemed inappropriate to see an increase to 80 mph. (Paragraph 47)

14.  The possibility of increasing the motorway speed limit has been discussed since September 2011, it is now time for the DfT to publish its consultation document or to explain the reason for delay. (Paragraph 47)

15.  The Government should ensure that any decision to increase the speed limit should follow a debate in the House on a votable motion. (Paragraph 48)

Technology and engineering

16.  We recommend that the Government includes engineering measures in its outcomes framework, for example by providing EuroRAP assessments of road safety. (Paragraph 50)

17.  We recommend that the Government provides an update on progress in those areas which it committed to developing at an EU level in the last road safety strategy and sets out forthcoming areas for prioritisation. (Paragraph 51)

Conclusion

18.  The period since the Coalition Government took office has seen the first increase in road fatalities since 2003, despite there having been no overall increase in road traffic. This is a worrying development and raises questions about the Government's road safety strategy. These casualty figures should be a wake-up call for the Government to step up and provide stronger leadership in the road safety field. The Minister, Mike Penning MP, told us that success of his strategy could be judged by seeing a reduction in road casualties. From the latest figures, it would appear there is a risk that the strategy is insufficient. In the response to this report, we recommend that the Government outlines why it thinks road deaths increased in 2011. (Paragraph 52)

19.  The Government should update us regarding the development of new advertising campaigns for road safety, particularly on how it intends to engage with social media to help improve public awareness. (Paragraph 57)

20.  A year has now passed since the publication of the Strategic Framework for Road Safety. The next version is due in September 2012. This provides an opportunity to include a number of areas insufficiently addressed in the original strategy - including engineering measures to improve road design and technological research. It is also an opportune time for the Government to publish an update of its progress against the action plan and outcomes framework, to clarify its vision, highlight areas of local authority innovation or best practice, and reassess the strategy in light of recent worrying casualty numbers. (Paragraph 59)




 
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Prepared 18 July 2012