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Parliamentary committee issues call for evidence as it launches road safety inquiry

Transport Select Committee issues call for evidence after five years in which there was no reduction in number of deaths on Britain's roads...

A parliamentary committee has launched an inquiry into road safety, with the House of Commons Transport Select Committee issuing a call for evidence today.

The committee points out that while there was a more than 40 per cent decline in the number of people killed on Britain’s roads from 2007-12, there has been no reduction in the past five years.

Opposition politicians as well as road safety campaigners have pointed out that progress in improving the situation has stalled since he Coalition Government abolished road safety targets in 2011.

That came after former transports secretary Philip Hammond promised an end to what he termed “the “War on the Motorist” after the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties entered their coalition the following year.

As well as stopping funding for new speed cameras, Home Office slashes to police budgets have also resulted in less money and other resources being available for roads policing.

Launching the inquiry, the committee’s chair, the Labour MP Lilian Greenwood, said: “In 2017, almost 1,800 people died in road traffic accidents on the UK’s roads. While there are far fewer fatalities than there were in 2007, that figure is still too high, and hasn’t fallen at all in the last five years.

“We want to know what should be done to bring down the number of accidents. We are keen to hear from everyone who feels our roads could be safer and has ideas on how to make it happen. 

“Are you a road safety campaigner or a road user group? A local authority? Do you run a business which employs drivers? Or do you see your children off to school with concerns about their journey? We want to know what you think.

“Tell us how to make our roads safer. This could be anything from the use of technology to make cars and roads safer, to road safety around schools. Your input will help us to decide which issues we will investigate in more detail.”

The committee is calling for evidence on the following questions, and once the deadline for written submissions of 18 April has passed will consider which areas to focus on under the inquiry:

How effective is the Government’s current approach to road safety?
Are there any areas where the Government’s current approach to road safety could be improved?
What interventions would be most effective at reducing the number and severity of road traffic accidents?
What evidence is there on the effectiveness of these interventions?
How can interventions to reduce the number and severity of road traffic accidents best be implemented?

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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12 comments

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Mungecrundle | 4 years ago
4 likes

Mandatory front and rear continuosly recording cameras and black box data recorders in all motor vehicles with effective penalties for tampering.

Proper loss of licence and extended retesting for all convictions of careless and dangerous driving offences or cumulative endorsements.

Massive crackdown on removing the unlicenced, uninsured and un roadworthy from the public highway.

Psychological evalution as part of acquiring a provisional driving licence.

Extended training and test regime for higher powered vehicles or anything above an arbitary insurance grouping. Something equivalent to IAM standards.

10 year or otherwise regular retesting.

For starters.

Avatar
Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to Mungecrundle | 4 years ago
1 like
Mungecrundle wrote:

Mandatory front and rear continuosly recording cameras and black box data recorders in all motor vehicles with effective penalties for tampering. Proper loss of licence and extended retesting for all convictions of careless and dangerous driving offences or cumulative endorsements. Massive crackdown on removing the unlicenced, uninsured and un roadworthy from the public highway. Psychological evalution as part of acquiring a provisional driving licence. Extended training and test regime for higher powered vehicles or anything above an arbitary insurance grouping. Something equivalent to IAM standards. 10 year or otherwise regular retesting. For starters.

I like your ideas.

Unfortunately, anyone who seriously suggested even one or two of these (other than a commentator on a blog, like us), would be the subject of the most vicious character assassination in the rightard press.  And if that didn't work, he or she would be found in a wood somewhere, leaning against a tree with a rusty penknife by his side. 

Avatar
Mungecrundle replied to Legs_Eleven_Worcester | 4 years ago
3 likes
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:
Mungecrundle wrote:

Mandatory front and rear continuosly recording cameras and black box data recorders in all motor vehicles with effective penalties for tampering. Proper loss of licence and extended retesting for all convictions of careless and dangerous driving offences or cumulative endorsements. Massive crackdown on removing the unlicenced, uninsured and un roadworthy from the public highway. Psychological evalution as part of acquiring a provisional driving licence. Extended training and test regime for higher powered vehicles or anything above an arbitary insurance grouping. Something equivalent to IAM standards. 10 year or otherwise regular retesting. For starters.

I like your ideas.

Unfortunately, anyone who seriously suggested even one or two of these (other than a commentator on a blog, like us), would be the subject of the most vicious character assassination in the rightard press.  And if that didn't work, he or she would be found in a wood somewhere, leaning against a tree with a rusty penknife by his side. 

I do believe that you may have actually found a practical use for Chris Grayling!

Avatar
ktache | 4 years ago
3 likes

Why not speeding, it is easily and accurately measured, both increases the probability and seriousness of crashes and is an incredible indicator of aggressiveness, bad driving and lawlessness?

Now distracted driving, I think there should be more siezing of mobile divices from more incidents.  And greater enforcement, but that could require more traffic police. 

Avatar
kil0ran replied to ktache | 4 years ago
1 like
ktache wrote:

Why not speeding, it is easily and accurately measured, both increases the probability and seriousness of crashes and is an incredible indicator of aggressiveness, bad driving and lawlessness?

Now distracted driving, I think there should be more siezing of mobile divices from more incidents.  And greater enforcement, but that could require more traffic police. 

I don't think it's seen as a particularly an indicator of aggressiveness or bad driving in the driving population, in the same way as nicking pencils and envelopes from work isn't seen as theft (crap equivalnce I know). It needs education and enforcement in the same way that drink-driving and driving without seatbelts has had. 

Doing 100mph+ on an empty motorway to my mind is less aggressive than having someone tailgating you in a 40mph limit because you're daring to do the speed limit.

Anyway, this is probably all moot as we'll have a new govt in a few days and the committee work will die with the Parliament.

Avatar
makadu replied to ktache | 4 years ago
2 likes
ktache wrote:

Why not speeding, it is easily and accurately measured, both increases the probability and seriousness of crashes and is an incredible indicator of aggressiveness, bad driving and lawlessness?

Now distracted driving, I think there should be more siezing of mobile divices from more incidents.  And greater enforcement, but that could require more traffic police. 

I did not say don't enforce speeding - it just seems that with the ease and accuracy of measurement the focus for road safety has become speeding to the detriment of all other aspects - may explain why there has been no further reduction in deaths and KSI.

Avatar
makadu | 4 years ago
1 like

Personally I think there should be a return to the 3 E's approach - education, engineering and enforcement.

Unfortunately when someone worked out how to automate issuing speeding tickets (scameras) and thus remove the need for traffic police, the focus shifted mainly onto enforcement of speeding with dodgy statistics to back up their claims.

As it has emerged recently distracted driving (mobiles are only one of many forms of distraction) is a big factor in road accidents, but cameras cannot yet easily detect people on their phone, eating their lunch - bending round to argue with their kids etc. etc.

Education for all drivers (not just those who are caught),engineering to remove the threats (e.g seperation of vulnerable users, simplification of complex junctions etc.) and more traffic police looking for all types of offence (not just focussing on speeders) oh and more severe penalties and retesting for offenders.

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burtthebike | 4 years ago
5 likes

To add to all the previous excellent suggestions, how about a review of road laws?  You know, just like the government forgot to do in 2014.  This would make dangerous driving much easier to prove and for juries to convict on.

A much simpler, quicker justice system, including immediate temporary banning of any driver involved in a fatal collision suspected of dangerous driving until the trial.

Much more realistic sentences for dangerous driving e.g. minimum ten year ban, no maximum time ban, and up to the driver to show what mitigating circumstances justify a reduction on a life ban.

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janusz0 | 4 years ago
3 likes

There will never be enough traffic police, therefore here are a few more suggestions:
Force car manufacturers to limit the maximum speed of all vehicles in the UK to 70 mph. Just that to start with and a system to allow it to be unlocked when visiting other countries. (To be extended later to comply with all UK limits including variable speed limits.)
Install (fixed penalty) cameras at all pedestrian crossings, light controlled junctions, yellow boxes. (To be extended later to all road junctions and to enforce the "two second rule".)
Introduce a retest on the Highway Code, every three years, then extend it to include a full driving test, finally require it every year.
Reduce the 30 mph limit to 20 mph in all "built up" areas and enforce it for all traffic including HPVs.
Roll out free public transport, using low emission vehicles and service standards from the 1950s as a guide.
Introduce a progressive reduction in vehicle weights, aiming to get to less than 100kg of vehicle per passenger in the next ten years.
Mandate the elimination of "blind spots" using cameras and video screens on all obscuring surfaces, or provide VR headsets for drivers of enclosed vehicles.

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pmurden | 4 years ago
2 likes

Peter Hawkins has a very valid point I feel with the Traffic Police as to be honest I'm not sure why we got rid of them. I know we have the traffic wombles on the motorways but this is no where near the same thing. I bike to work everyday and see quite a lot of dumb stuff, mainly from drivers but you get the odd prat on a bike too.  I think the main thing is education though, enough of this them and us (we're all just trying to get somewhere or just enjoy our hobby), get everyone on the same page and things will get better (I think). Then make the punishment fit the crime and stop using sentences that dumb down what are potentially lethal actions.

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mikewood | 4 years ago
1 like

Compulsory retests/pass plus/advanced driving tests. Would act as reminders on the rules and make sure people can actually drive properly whilst respecting the rules and other road users.

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hawkinspeter | 4 years ago
11 likes

So, how to improve road safety and reduce the number of "accidents"? (hint - they're not accidental if you can predict that the behaviour will lead at some point to an incident)

How about increase the number of traffic police.

Have some traffic police go plain-clothes on bicycles/scooters/motorbikes and record motorists using mobile phones or eating cereal or otherwise not paying attention to their driving.

Similarly, have those same plain-clothes officers provide evidence for close-passes or other dangerous behaviour.

Make it easier for the public to submit camera footage of driving incidents and make it a higher priority for those police forces that aren't currently bothered about prosecuting drivers.

Allow some of the driving fines/penalties to be used to fund driving enforcement.

Most importantly - listen to Chris Boardman and do what he says.

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