Transport CommitteeWritten evidence from Jeanne Breen and Kate McMahon

Executive Summary

Whether the Government is right not to set road safety targets and whether its outcomes framework is appropriate?

1. Our central concern is the lack of leadership being given currently by the lead agency for road safety and its Ministers in Britain which is a departure from previous, successful policies which is illustrated by:

failure set a sufficiently ambitious long-term vision or goal to help provide stimulus for effective road safety work;

failure to set empirically derived quantitative time-specific outcome targets for the interim and provide institutional accountability for national road safety performance; Britain’s road safety target-setting for the interim is an international success story unlike other discredited targets used nationally;

failure to decentralise to best practice;

proposing legislation which is likely to cost lives (eg raising the motorway speed limit);

failing to adopt legislation which is widely supported in Britain and widely and successfully enacted elsewhere which is likely to save lives (eg reducing the blood alcohol limit to 50mg/100ml);

withdrawing funding 1 from successful evidence-based activity which is likely to cost lives (eg speed cameras which enforce legally established speed limits: in 2004, camera operations at more than 4,000 sites across Great Britain prevented some 3,600 personal injury collisions, saving around 1,000 people from being killed or seriously injured: National decommissioning of speed cameras could result in about 800 extra people across Great Britain being killed or seriously injured each year);2

withdrawing funding for world-leading government/industry/research partnership crash injury research programmes (CCIS) and other research; and

undermining in Ministerial statements successful professional efforts which are saving lives and serious injuries and will cost lives if promulgated (implying that measures such as safety cameras are “war on the motorist”) and promoting soft, ineffective interventions eg, education and training, which are useful in support but cannot be relied upon for a casualty saving effect for drivers in general.

Recommendation

Carry out a road safety management capacity review to ensure that DfT represents best practice in its lead agency activity and road safety management and to assess its partners’ willingness to engage in effective multi-sectoral action for road safety. Adopt the Safe System vision and approach and set challenging but achievable national interim quantitative targets for final and intermediate outcomes as recommended by the OECD, World Bank and the Global Plan for the Decade of Action.

How the decentralisation to local authorities of funding and the setting of priorities will work in practice and contribute towards fulfilling the Government’s vision

2. The decentralisation of road safety in Britain is not being carried out in line with identified international good practice. Local activity in Britain has been highly successful in recent years, but cuts in general funding, the disbanding of specific road safety funding and the absence of a targets framework at national level are likely to have severe, adverse effects on the direction and amount of activity which can and will be carried out by local authorities towards the Government’s vision.

Recommendation

Restore the annual specific allocation (which may or may not be derived from annual fine income) of £110 million for effective activity by local safety partnerships to reduce deaths and serious injuries consistent with a national targeted performance framework.

Whether the Government is right to argue that, for the most part, the right legislative framework for road safety is in place, and, in particular, whether the Road Safety Act 2006 has fulfilled its objectives (see Post-Legislative Assessment of the Road Safety Act 2006, Cm 8141, published by the DfT, July 2011)

3. There is professional consensus in Britain and internationally that blood alcohol limits, speed limits and their compliance systems are important road safety parameters. There is widespread support nationally for a reduction in the blood alcohol limit to 50mg/100ml (more enforcement alone is insufficient); evidence for the acceptable use of alcohol interlock devices on commercial vehicles (in Sweden); acknowledgement that 20 mph zones represent an effective means to reduce pedestrian deaths and serious injuries; evidence that raising the motorway speed limit will lead to adverse safety and environmental impacts and evidence and support for the introduction of daylight saving.

Recommendation

Introduce a good practice framework for blood alcohol limits (reducing the level to 50) and their enforcement using a combination of high visibility deterrent policing and social marketing) retain the current motorway speed limit and support the expansion of roll out of 20mph zones.

Whether the measures set out in the action plan are workable and sufficient

4. Overall therefore our conclusion is that the Action Plan is inadequate in its scope and content to make a real impact on casualty reduction over the coming decade and falls short of international good practice.

Recommendation

As recommended by the OECD to all countries when establishing new road safety strategies, the DfT should carry out a national road safety management capacity review to inform new investment and to benchmark institutional management against international good practice, set a Safe System vision for the long-term, set challenging but achievable interim quantitative targets for final and intermediate outcomes to 2020 based on the empirical approach used successfully to date, set out a well-orchestrated, funded action plan following consultation with the government partners, civil society and business for system-wide interventions to achieve these results, and lead by example with in-house safety policies, as in international best practice. The Government should also ensure that Britain’s road safety and international development departments play a key role in the UN Decade of Action for road safety in view of the looming global crisis of road traffic injury.

The relationship between the Government’s strategy and EU road safety initiatives

5. The EU shares responsibility for road safety with its Member States and has been responsible for the introduction of measures which prevent death and disability, has encouraged action nationally and contributed to developing road safety knowledge.

Recommendation

Britain should continue to support EU targets, legislative, knowledge transfer and research activity on road and vehicle safety and opt in to the Directive on cross border enforcement.

Introduction

6. We submit our evidence as global road safety experts with a longstanding involvement in governmental and non-governmental sectors and in the development and implementation of road safety strategy in Britain.

7. Britain is a global leader in road safety performance and the rate achieved in 2010 of 3.1 deaths per 100,000 of population is currently second only to Sweden’s rate of 2.8. The decline in deaths from the baseline figure for 1994–98 average of 3,578 to 1,850 in 2010 is a remarkable achievement and points to the beneficial effect of the road safety strategy and casualty reduction targets set in 2000 for 2010. This performance has been hard won over the last two decades and although it has no doubt been influenced in recent years by the economic downturn and associated reduced travel and winter conditions,3 traffic grew by 13% over the whole period. At the same time, current knowledge indicates that further improvements in this performance can be achieved and a more ambitious Safe System approach has been widely promoted by road safety professionals.4

8. In line with the successful British practice adopted since the mid 1980s, we had expected that the Government’s new road safety strategy to 2020 would at least continue if not build upon its approach to date. We are concerned by the recent policy decisions before and since publication of the strategy as well as key aspects of the strategy itself. We believe the Government’s approach represents a significant departure from the successful, evidence-based approaches of previous practice. Some decisions will cost lives, others represent a missed opportunity to prevent avoidable death and serious injury in road traffic crashes.

9. Our aim is to provide the Committee with responses to the issues raised by the Committee which are derived from knowledge of international best practice in road safety management and first hand experience of strategy development and implementation at national, EU and global levels. Please see Annex 1 for further information on our experience.

Governmental Leadership, Road Safety Visions, Targets, Outcomes Framework

Governmental leadership

Background

10. Road safety activity takes place in a complex multi-sectoral context and requires leadership and careful management. International health and transport organisations highlight the vital importance of central government leadership in orchestrating a country focus on achieving road safety results 5 , 6 , 7. A fully functioning lead agency plays a key role in setting and agreeing targets across the road safety partnership, and coordinating results-focused activity horizontally and vertically in government and with civil society and the business sector. It ensures that legislation fits the road safety task, secures sustainable funding and allocation of resources, provides high-level championing and promotion of the shared responsibility for long term goals and interim targets, and undertakes monitoring and evaluation of results and managing of research and development and knowledge transfer.13 , 14

11. Since the introduction of the first targeted programme in 1987 the Department for Transport has been a best practice lead agency and its efforts have been widely acknowledged.13 , 14 In addition to its leadership of the road safety strategy and targets, DfT enabled the key national vehicle safety research which allowed substantial improvements to be made in EU Single Market legislative standards. The Department initiated the European New Car Assessment Programme which has led to the take up of life-saving design and the prevention of serious injury.8 It has led and part-funded the implementation of life-saving speed management, both in terms of lower speed limits in residential areas and the roll out of a large speed camera programme. While these activities have attracted opposition from a vociferous minority they have consistently received all party support and country support as a result of strong governmental leadership from the lead agency and an evidence-based approach.

12. Our central concern is the lack of leadership being given currently by the lead agency for road safety in Britain which is illustrated by:

failure to set targets and provide institutional accountability for national road safety performance;

failure to decentralise to good practice (as outlined on page 9);

proposing legislation which is likely to cost lives (eg raising the motorway speed limit);

failing to adopt legislation which is widely supported in Britain and widely and successfully enacted elsewhere which is likely to save lives (eg reducing the blood alcohol limit to 50mg/100ml);

withdrawing funding 9from successful evidence-based activity which is likely to cost lives (eg speed cameras which enforce legally established speed limits: in 2004, camera operations at more than 4,000 sites across Great Britain prevented some 3,600 personal injury collisions, saving around 1,000 people from being killed or seriously injured: National decommissioning of speed cameras could result in about 800 extra people across Great Britain being killed or seriously injured each year);10

withdrawing funding from world-leading government/industry/research partnership crash injury research programmes (CCIS) leading to its demise and other research; and

undermining in Ministerial statements successful professional efforts which are saving lives and serious injuries and will cost lives if promulgated (implying that measures such as safety cameras are “war on the motorist”) and promoting soft, less effective interventions eg, education and training, which are useful in support but cannot be relied upon for a major casualty saving effect for drivers in general.

“I believe our approach where possible should be based on making it easier for the road users to do the right thing—improving education and training—instead of resorting to more bureaucracy regulation and targets”
Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, Preface to Strategic Framework for Road Safety May 2011

“No assessment has been made about the effect on road accidents that may result from changes to road safety grants.”

“some speed cameras work very well and some do not”
Mike Penning MP, Hansard, Questions 2.12.10

Recommendation

Review and reverse current policy and carry out a road safety management capacity review to ensure that DfT continues to represent best practice in its lead agency activity for road safety.

Road safety visions and targets

Background

13. Britain’s vision as articulated in the Strategy is to ensure that Britain remains a world leader in road safety and to continue the downward trend in casualties. This is not a sufficiently ambitious long-term vision. The OECD and World Bank both recommend that countries adopt the long-term goal of Safe System as in Sweden, other Nordic countries and the Australian States ie the eventual elimination of death and permanent impairment resulting from road crashes together with interim time-specific quantitative targets. In December, 2010 the EU Council of Ministers called for the development and use of road safety management systems and for targeted action towards achieving the eventual elimination of death and long-term injury on Europe’s roads. The European Commission has proposed that by 2050, the EU should move close to zero road traffic deaths and aim at halving road traffic deaths by 2020.

14. The Safe System goal re-defines what is meant by ‘safety’ in good practice safety management and Safe System represents the new performance frontier to be reached by pursuing time-limited interim, quantitative targets, exacting intervention strategies (which better address the capacities of all users—motorised and non-motorised)—and strengthened institutional management to ensure their delivery. Safe System approaches align well with other societal objectives such as environmental, energy, development, health and occupational health and safety policies. They present opportunities, given sufficient stimulus, encouragement and the right frameworks, for integrating, building better business cases and achieving ‘win-wins’ with these and other areas of activity.

Britain’s vision is neither sufficiently long-term nor ambitious to help provide stimulus for effective road safety work, nor sufficient to meet its best in the world aim by 2020.

Recommendation

Adopt the Safe System vision and approach recommended by the OECD, World Bank and the Global Plan for the Decade of Action.

Targets

15. Targets provide the focus for a national road safety management system and strategy and the level of their ambition drives decisions about necessary institutional management capacity and the choice and scope of the interventions required to achieve them. Research and experience indicate that interim targets lead to:

Increased political will and stakeholder accountability for road safety.

Closer management of strategies and programmes, better safety programmes and better safety performance, especially when targets are ambitious, and better performance than countries without targets.11

Better use of public resource.

Increased motivation of stakeholders.12

16. The World Report of Road traffic Injury Prevention stated that setting challenging but achievable targets—as practised by an increasing number of countries—is a sign of responsible road safety management. Setting challenging but achievable step-wise quantitative final and intermediate outcome targets towards the ultimate Safe System goal to eliminate death and long-term injury has been identified as international best practice.

Target-setting in the UK

Against the background of changes in general public service delivery, the first national casualty reduction target was set in Britain in 1987, following a comprehensive review of road safety policy and research. The target was to reduce casualties by one third by 2000 compared with the average for 1981–85. Although the overall target was not achieved due to increasing minor injuries, deaths declined by 39% and serious injuries by 49%. The target process led to an increased profile for road safety; increased resources for and more discussion of national and local action.

Following a consultation exercise launched in 1996, new bottom-up targets were proposed by the Department for Transport and approved by Government and Parliament in 2000. Compared with the average of 1994–98, new targets were set to achieve by 2010:

40% reduction in killed and seriously injured casualties (49% achieved by 2010).

50% reduction in children killed and seriously injured (64% achieved by 2010).

10% reduction in the casualty rate for slight injures per kilometre travelled by 2010 (40% achieved by 2010).

A further public service agreement target was set for the Department for Transport for 2005—to reduce casualties in deprived areas of England more rapidly than in Britain as a whole. In 2002, the UK also joined other member countries in signing up to the highly ambitious targets set by the European Union and the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (now ITF).

17. The UN Resolution from March 2010 setting up the Decade of Action specifically requests that member states set targets. The UK was one of the sponsors of this resolution and is thus a party to this commitment as it was in December 2010 to the EU Council of Ministers’ call for the establishment of new quantitative targets for 2020 within the long-term vision to achieve the eventual elimination of death and disabling injury on Europe’s roads.

18. The lack of a new casualty reduction target and strategy for Great Britain for post 2011 does not seem consistent with the support given by Phillip Hammond at the launch of the UN Decade of Action on 13 May 2011 in London:

Phillip Hammond said: “Each year an incredible 1.3 million people are killed and 50 million are injured on the world’s roads. Politicians often use words like incredible, but when I saw those figures I asked someone to check them. They are correct and they are mind-numbing figures. Equally chilling is the fact that, on current trends, road fatalities could become the world’s fifth biggest killer by 2030. These facts and figures demonstrate that road safety is a truly global issue. They also remind us of the motivation for the UN Decade of Action—a decade in which, with the right focus, action and policies, countless lives will be saved in the years ahead”.

19. t a photo call in Downing Street with the Prime Minister and the Formula One world champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. David Cameron said:

“Every six seconds, someone is killed or seriously injured on the world’s roads. Addressing this must be an urgent priority for the international community. In the United Kingdom, we have managed to make our roads amongst the safest in the world. Yet, despite this road accidents are still the leading cause of death for British teenagers and young adults—with the loss of six or seven people in road crashes every day.

“That’s why I’m adding my voice to all those across the world who are coming together in support of the launch of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety”

20. The value of setting casualty reduction targets was recognised by the United Nations Secretary General in the 2010 Report of the project “Improving Global Road Safety: setting regional and National Road Traffic Casualty reduction Targets” that was funded by the UN Development Account: “Studies show that countries with road traffic casualty reduction targets have a better road safety record and fewer fatalities than those without. Fixing goals helps to motivate people to take action, and to win political and institutional support … This publication … provides guidelines and recommendations for setting and reaching targets … I commend this publication to all those concerned about deaths and injuries on the road.”

21. It is a cause for concern that the internationally recognised best practice of setting casualty reduction targets as an important and effective tool has been rejected. It is perhaps indicative of the lack of a strategic and targeted approach that the DfT website section on road safety has no mention of the Strategic Framework document that can only be found by searching for it by title.

Britain has been setting widely accepted targets for over two decades with good results.13 Its target setting is a success story unlike other discredited targets used nationally. To view target-setting in this field as ‘bureaucracy’ is an absurd and dangerous view which needs to be dispelled.

Recommendation

Set challenging but achievable interim quantitative targets for final and intermediate outcomes for Britain

Decentralisation of funding and priority setting

Background

22. When countries reach an advanced phase of their road safety management system, more responsibilities are devolved to regional, state, and provincial government as well as local authorities and districts, adding to and building on what can be achieved at central level. Without a central strategic framework and support such activity can lead to unevenness in safety performance from one authority to the next. At the same time regionally devolved responsibilities for road traffic policing can lead to differing priorities for the enforcement of key road safety rules and consequent casualty reductions. This underscores the importance of establishing and trying to maintain, wherever possible, a formal framework for coordinated and funded results-based interventions. The casualty reduction targets for 2010 were adopted by local highway authorities and acted as a catalyst for concerted action to reduce casualties within the context of the national strategy. The role of Central Government in providing advice and technical information as well as funding for specific road safety programmes focused on areas of highest need was a vital support to local authority action on road safety.

23. An independent evaluation of the Delivery of Local Road Safety14 commissioned by the Department of Transport and published in September 2011 describes the importance of partnership working and political support for road safety. A key finding was that “the existence of national targets has provided a useful stimulus to local partnership working.” There must be a risk therefore that the absence of new national targets and clear strategic central guidance on road safety will have a negative effect on local delivery in the future, particularly in the light of reduced funding for road safety.

Characteristics of good practice decentralization15

Current British practice?

Establishing a legal duty for road safety at local and regional levels

Requiring regional and local targets within a national target framework

x

Establishing and funding regional and local coordination bodies

x

Providing specific allocations of resource for effective road safety measures

x

Helping to establish community partnerships with local road safety coordinators financed by the lead agency to stimulate local action

x

Identifying safety performance indicators and monitors action against set targets

x

Local activity in Britain has been highly successful in recent years, but cuts in general funding, the disbanding of specific road safety funding and the absence of a targets framework at national level are likely to have severe, adverse effects on the direction and amount of activity which can and will be carried out by local authorities.

Recommendation

Restore the annual specific allocation (which may or may not be derived from annual fine income) of £110 million for effective activity by local safety partnerships to reduce deaths and serious injuries consistent with a national targeted performance framework.

Legislative framework

24. While Britain’s legislative framework for road safety is generally comprehensive, there are a few key omissions, some of which are referred to in other sections of this evidence. In addition, recent policy announcements concerning drink/drive and speed indicate a lack of concern for safety impacts which is inconsistent with previous policy lines and unacceptable in terms of their consequences.

Blood alcohol limit

25. The decision to reject the North recommendation and the advice of most organisations contributing to public consultations on the issue of reducing Britain’s blood alcohol limit of 80 milligrammes of alcohol to 100 millilitres of blood to 50 milligrammes is regrettable. Crash injury research indicates that a limit of 80 provides unsafe guidance to drivers about drink/driving levels and that 50 is the highest limit that can be supported in crash injury research.16

Alcohol interlocks

26. These devices are being used increasingly in commercial and public transport on the Continent and should be promoted in Britain in a work-related road safety setting.

Speed limits

27. Small changes in speed can have a large impact on road safety. An accepted principle in road safety engineering is that for every 5% increase in average speed, a 20% increase in fatal injury can be predicted and for every 5% decrease, a 20% reduction. Human tolerance thresholds are well known. At speeds of 20 mph, an impact with a motor vehicle is likely to be survivable for a pedestrian whereas at 30 mph, a majority is likely to sustain fatal injury. The removal of central government funding for effective activity such as 20 mph zones in residential areas will lead to loss of lives and increased serious injuries, not least amongst child pedestrians and older users.

28. The proposals to increase the motorway speed limit to 80mph will cost lives and it is essential that the effect on casualties is taken into account. An important factor is that without very heavy enforcement raising the limit to 80mph will increase the proportion of vehicles travelling at speeds above 80mph due to the usual tolerance exercised in enforcing speed limits. The environmental impact of higher motorway speeds will also be significant. An analysis published by the Climate Change Committee in a report to Parliament in June 2011 showed the proposed increase could add emissions of up to 2.2 million tonnes CO2/year.

29. As in other countries, Britain should ensure that its road and speed limit classification is increasingly rather than decreasingly in line with safety needs to arrive at a road hierarchy where road function is better aligned with speed limits, road design and layout. Britain should also promote the fitment and use of advisory intelligent speed adaptation devices and ensure that speed limit mapping is carried out nationwide in support of this evidence-based measure.

Daylight saving

30. TRL research, updating previous analysis, estimates that moving to Central European Time with lighter evenings and darker mornings would reduce road deaths by around 80 per year and serious injuries by around 212 per year.17

There is professional consensus in Britain and internationally that blood alcohol limits and speed limits are important road safety parameters. There is widespread support nationally for a reduction in the blood alcohol limit to 50mg/100ml, acknowledgement that 20 mph zones represent an effective means to reduce pedestrian deaths and serious injuries and evidence that raising the motorway speed limit will lead to adverse safety and environmental impacts.

Recommendation

Introduce a good practice framework for blood alcohol limits (reducing the level to 50) and their enforcement; retain the current motorway speed limit and support the expansion of roll out of 20mph zones.

Content of the action plan

31. The Strategic Framework for Road Safety that was published in May 2011 claims that “overarching national targets” are no longer necessary “because further central persuasion should not now be needed to highlight the importance of road safety.” Whilst in theory this may be the case, the evaluation of Local Delivery (op cit) has shown that there is variation in how road safety is addressed locally and that there are benefits from central targets and policy guidance. It is a leap of faith that all Local Authorities will be able to rise to the challenge and to ensure that road safety is given priority without a much clearer steer from central Government.

32. The Framework’s Key Themes are almost exclusively focused on education and enforcement. Whilst these are important elements of road safety policy they are not sufficient. Although a systematic approach is mentioned, the internationally accepted best practice of a Safe System approach as practised in a number of leading countries and recommended by the UN, WHO, OECD amongst others, is noticeably absent. The underlying principle of the Safe System approach is the development of a road traffic system that is better able to accommodate human error and take into consideration the vulnerability of the human body. It accepts that human error exists and that crashes cannot always be prevented, so that the goal of a Safe System is to ensure that serious injury and death as a result of a road crash can be avoided. This requires that road users, vehicles and the road network and environment are addressed in an integrated manner. A wide range of interventions is therefore needed, with more emphasis on speed management, the safety quality of the road network and of vehicles, as well as the performance of the emergency medical system and trauma care arrangements than on the more traditional approaches to road safety with their focus on direct and often unsuccessful approaches to the road user to behave better.

33. The Road Safety Action Plan in Annex A of the Strategic Framework sets out a list of specific policy measures for education, training and enforcement. It is notable that there is little emphasis on road engineering despite the proven effectiveness of safety engineering measures. It may be that the expectation is that Local Highway Authorities will deal with this, but the lack of any focus beyond education and enforcement in the document leads to the fear that these will be given priority at local level too.

34. Several of the measures in the Action Plan eg evidential breath testing, forfeiture of vehicles, drug screening devices, are not new. The education and training measures for offenders and new drivers also build on existing practice. The measures are of varying potential for casualty reduction and no information is provided on their expected effectiveness. But the major criticism of the Action Plan must rest on what is omitted rather than the narrow range of the measures that are included.

35. Even within the narrow remit of the Action Plan’s focus on education and enforcement it is surprising that there is little attention paid to the key risk factors of speed and drink driving. The rejection of any change to the drink drive limit following the North Report is a major lost opportunity. The reduced funding for local road safety that is resulting in less support for the successful speed camera programme has already been noted. The problem of rural roads with high levels of risk where most car occupants are killed does not get a mention.

36. Also missing is any mention of vulnerable road users. There is little in the Action Plan that addresses the risks faced by pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Pedestrians and cyclists benefit in particular from safety engineering and speed management measures that do not feature in the Plan.

37. The Plan also omits reference to international development and road safety and support for the UN Decade of Action 2011–20, against the background of the Prime Minister’s statement of support noted earlier and the shameful reneging of the Department for International Development on promised sums for road safety to the Global Road Safety Facility.

Overall therefore our conclusion is that the Action Plan is inadequate in its scope and content to make a real impact on casualty reduction over the coming decade and falls short of international good practice.

Recommendation

As recommended by the OECD to all countries when establishing new road safety strategies, the Department for Transport should carry out a national road safety management capacity review to inform new investment, set a Safe System vision for the long term, set challenging but achievable interim quantitative targets for final and intermediate outcomes to 2020 based on the empirical approach used successfully to date, set out a well-orchestrated, funded action plan following consultation with the government partners, civil society and business for system-wide interventions to achieve these results and lead by example with in-house safety policies, as in international best practice.

The Government should also ensure that the UK plays a key role in the UN Decade of Action for road safety.

Relationship between national and EU road safety initiatives

EU role

38. Following on from Article 74 of the Maastricht Treaty, Article 91 (c) of the Lisbon Treaty specifically provides for the laying down of improved transport safety by the European Parliament and Council in pursuit of a common transport policy. Elsewhere in the Treaty, powers which have an impact on transport safety are outlined in Articles referring, inter alia, to vehicle type approval and cooperation in cross-border policing. Broader concerns with transport safety have been expressed in the Single Market legislation of 1986 and its subsequent revisions. By acknowledging a shared responsibility for transport safety and for road safety in particular, the EU has played and continues to play a major role in bringing down the death and serious injury toll.

39. Amongst the important measures taken at this the level, the European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) system was introduced in 2009 to create a means by which vehicle manufacturing and testing standards can be set and maintained. Further consumer information on vehicle safety performance has been provided by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) which was set up by the UK and Sweden in 1997 and which has gained greater traction through the European Commission’s backing and investment. Euro NCAP uses state of the art crash tests in its new vehicle testing and together with EU legislation on car occupant crash protection introduced in the late 1990s has helped industry to reach new levels of performance in vehicle safety. The UK has played a major role through national safety research and development in assisting the development of EU vehicle safety standards.

40. Interaction at EU level also creates a basis for measures to promote driving skills, education and behaviour. Harmonisation of driver licensing across the EU scheduled for introduction in 2013 will replace the 110 formats in current use. Its introduction will provide a means to raise standards of entry, enhance cross border enforcement, which is widely regarded as inadequate and prevent abuses such as ‘licence tourism’. It is disappointing that the UK has recently chosen to opt out of the Directive on cross border enforcement, not least to ensure that drivers and riders from other Member States are penalised for key motoring offences while in the UK.

41. Apart from legislative competence, key areas in which the EU interacts with Member States on road safety are research and development, benchmarking, identification of best practice and subsequent knowledge transfer. For example, data collected at global, EU and national levels has been synthesised into a practical, online resource known as the European Road Safety Observatory (ERSO). Designed for use by individual road users as well as road safety professionals and researchers and categorised for easy access, the ERSO website provides a regularly updated and comprehensive distillation of road safety knowledge together with subject indexed ‘toolbox’ with links to state of the art manuals, analyses, recommendations and guidelines.

EU Targets

42. In 2001, the European Commission proposed the first EU-wide quantitative target to reduce deaths by 50% by 2010 and carried out a road safety action programme. While the target was not fully met, its impact on road safety progress has been significant. The target and actions in the Road Safety Action Programme have helped to push road safety further up the agenda in many Member States and, following a wide range of initiatives, there has been more national target-setting. By the end of 2009 all EU countries (EU 27) had set measurable national targets with the exception of Germany, Malta and Luxembourg.

43. In December 2010 the EU Council of Ministers called for action towards achieving the eventual elimination of death and long-term injury on Europe’s roads and supported the establishment of new quantitative targets to 2020. The European Commission proposed that by 2050, the EU should move ‘close to zero fatalities’ in road transport and aim at halving road casualties by 2020. The report of the road safety rapporteur for the European Parliament has endorsed the objective of halving the total number of road deaths by 2020 and also calls for a 40% reduction in serious injuries, on the basis of a harmonised EU definition. ETSC has estimated that 182 billion euro would be the total value to society that would be achieved by reaching the 2020 target through a programme of specifically targeted reductions in road deaths in EU27 over the years 2011–20 compared with 2010.

The EU shares responsibility for road safety with its Member States and has been responsible for the introduction of measures which prevent death and disability, encourage action nationally and contribute to developing road safety knowledge.

Recommendation

Britain should continue to support EU targets, activity on road and vehicle safety and opt in to the Directive on cross border enforcement.

Annex 1

Kate McMahon OBE MSc (Econ)

Kate McMahon was until retirement in 2005 Head of Road Safety Strategy Division in the GB Department for Transport. Whilst at DfT she was a member of the AA Foundation for Road Safety Research Advisory Group and the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents Road Safety Advisory Group. She has been awarded the RoSPA Distinguished Service Award. She was a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s expert groups on Safety of Vulnerable Road Users, Road Safety Strategies, and Ambitious Targets, and chaired the expert group on Child Safety. Since retirement Kate has provided advice on road safety internationally including attending the UN Road Safety Collaboration meetings, and participating in workshops in India, Ghana, Latin America and Eastern Europe. She was one of the lead authors of the Road Traffic chapter of the WHO report on child injury and the first Make Roads Safe Report. She was commissioned by the FIA Foundation to produce a revised Seat belt manual in the WHO series, and is one of the organisers of their road safety scholars course. She coordinated the UNDA Targets project for UNECE and wrote the report that was published in 2010, and is an advisor to iRAP. Kate was commissioned by the Global Road Safety Partnership to carry out an interim evaluation of the Global Road Safety Initiative programme in 2008, and a final review of the programme in 2010. She is currently a consultant to the EU Save Our Lives project. She is a member of PACTS and a member of the Road User Behaviour Working Group.

Jeanne Breen OBE FRSA MiCHT

Jeanne Breen has worked in road safety for over 30 years in high, middle and low-income countries. Over 20 years she directed two successful independent non-governmental road safety organisations in Westminster and Brussels—the UK Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) and the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC)—both being associated with the promotion and introduction of a range of evidence-based road safety approaches and measures. Since 2004, Jeanne Breen has worked as an independent consultant in peer reviews of national road safety management, leading a review in Sweden in 2008 and co-authoring a review in Western Australia in 2010. She also carried out reviews in Ukraine, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Southern India and Bangladesh for the World Bank—in the Russian Federation for the ITF and in New Zealand. She is currently working on reviews in China and India. She co-authored World Bank global guidelines on best practice road safety management. She wrote much of the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention. Last year, she led the public internet consultation on the development of a new EU road safety action programme for the European Commission. She writes state of the art web texts for the European Road Safety Observatory and was a member of the editorial board for the OECD’s Towards Zero, Meeting Ambitious Targets report. She leads the UK delegation in the ISO Committee developing an international standard on road safety management systems.

October 2011

1 A specific annual road safety allocation of £110million was announced on 15 December 2005.

2 Allsop R E, The effectiveness of speed cameras: A review of the evidence, RAC Foundation November 2010.

3 In 2010 the overall motor vehicle traffic volume in Great Britain was 308.1 billion vehicle miles, down by 5.1 billion vehicle miles from 2009.

4 OECD 2008, Towards Zero: Achieving Ambitious Road Safety Targets through a Safe System Approach, OECD, Paris.

5 Peden M, Scurfield, R, Sleet, D, Mohan, D, Hyder, A, Jarawan, E and Mathers, C eds (2004) World report on road traffic injury prevention Geneva, World Health Organisation.

6 Bliss ,T and Breen, J (2009) Implementing the Recommendations of The World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention: Country guidelines for the conduct of road safety management capacity reviews and the related specification of lead agency reforms, investment strategies and safety programs and projects, Global Road Safety Facility, World Bank, Washington.

7 OECD 2008, Towards Zero: Achieving Ambitious Road Safety Targets through a Safe System Approach, OECD, Paris.

8 Three years after its introduction, Euro NCAP research reported that cars with three or four stars were approximately 30% safer, compared to two star cars or cars without an Euro NCAP score, in car to car collisions. In the last decade, crash data has confirmed that a 50% reduction in the risk of serious injury to car occupants has been achieved in new car models. (ERSO 2011).

9 A specific annual road safety allocation of £110million was announced on 15 December 2005.

10 Allsop R E, The effectiveness of speed cameras: A review of the evidence, RAC Foundation November 2010.

11 Wong, S C, Sze, N N, Yip, H F, Loo, Becky P Y; Hung, W T, Lo, H K (2006) Association between setting quantified road safety targets and road fatality reduction. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2006, 38, 997–1005.

12 OECD 2008, Towards Zero: Achieving Ambitious Road Safety Targets through a Safe System Approach, OECD, Paris.

13 It is worth notice that the first round of successful road safety targets in Britain, whilst enjoying all-party support, were introduced by the Thatcher government in 1987 (Secretary of State, Paul Channon) and that the second round were initiated by a consultation during the Major government of 1996 (Secretary of State, Sir George Young).

14 Road Safety Research Report No 124: Delivery of Local Road Safety Sept 2011.

15 Bliss T & Breen J (2009), Implementing the Recommendations of the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention. Country Guidelines for the Conduct of Road Safety Management Capacity Reviews and the Specification of Lead Agency Reforms, Investment Strategies and Safe System Projects, World Bank Global Road Safety Facility, Washington DC.

16 Peden M, Scurfield, R, Sleet, D, Mohan, D, Hyder, A, Jarawan, E and Mathers, C eds (2004) World report on road traffic injury prevention Geneva, World Health Organisation.

17 Sexton and Johnson (2009)—An evaluation of options for road safety beyond 2010. TRL Published Project Report, PPR397.

Prepared 18th July 2012