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A lost decade for road safety

   A lost decade for road safety

Last year, 1,752 people were killed on Great Britain’s roads, compared to 1,784 in 2018 – a reduction of just two per cent.

And eight years ago in 2012, 1,754 people were killed in collisions on our roads – sadly, not a lot of progress has been made since then.

The chart below demonstrates how little headway has been made toward reducing road deaths during the last decade. Prior to this, substantial reductions in the number of road were accidents were achieved between 2006 and 2010.


Source: Reported road casualties in Great Britain: 2019 annual report

Commenting on the latest Department for Transport road accident figures, Michelle Harrington, road safety manager at RoSPA, said: “We are deeply concerned about the lack of progress made towards reducing the number of road accidents and deaths since 2010. We cannot afford for the 2020s to be another lost decade.”

Road safety priorities for the 2020s

So, how can we end this stagnation in progress towards reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on Great Britain’s roads?

Here are just three suggestions from RoSPA:

Investment in roads policing

The number of dedicated roads police officers has declined by 23 per cent over the last decade.
RoSPA believes this reduction in personnel has contributed to the plateau in road casualty numbers.

There has also been a reduction in road safety provision in terms of road safety officers; the National Audit Office estimated that in real terms, there was a 37 per cent reduction in Government funding between 2010/11 and 2015/16.

The Government should consider the road safety implications of the reductions in funding for police services around the country, and seek to ensure that sufficient resources are available.
Road Safety Targets

Among the constituent countries of the United Kingdom, England is unique in not having set road safety targets. 

Like any aspect of life, setting objectives helps focus minds, resources and energies – road safety is no different.

The Government should take the lead from Scotland and Wales and adopt road safety targets across England, to reduce the number of deaths and casualties. In Scotland, the numbers of road deaths are generally falling, while in Wales the numbers have hovered around the same level since 2014, though they are half of what they were in 2004.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting for its road safety strategy to 2030, and has announced an ambitious vision for zero fatalities and injuries by 2050.
 Scrapping the October Clock Change:

Every autumn when the clocks go back and sunset suddenly occurs earlier in the day, there are a host of negative impacts on the way we live our lives.

One of these negative impacts is that the number of road casualties rises, with the effects having the most impact on the most vulnerable road users, such as children, older people, cyclists and motorcyclists. In 2019, the number of pedestrian deaths rose from 33 in September to 36 in October, 54 in November and 57 in December. This is a trend we see every year.

Recent research by the RAC Foundation confirms that road traffic collisions increase by 19 per cent in the fortnight after putting the clocks back one hour from British Summer Time (BST) to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and they reduce by 11 per cent when we put the clocks forward onto BST.

RoSPA has campaigned against the unnecessary clock change for many years, and is calling on the Government to instead keep British Summer Time all year round.

Rebecca Needham
road safety officer (England)

Posted: 10/12/2020 12:56:34 PM 1 comments


10/13/2020 11:53:24 AM


Very much a case of where to start? Predominantly collisions are human error and drivers are held solely accountable. Satisfies many requirements but generally produces a dead end in terms of progress in reducing casualties. The medical profession understands the limitation of a blame culture, is it the same in transport?
Human error is present in every aspect of human activity. Driving is a psychomotor activity and skill. The brain processes information from memory and senses signalling the limbs to control the vehicle. So why does it so often go wrong?
Three influences on safe driving are law, education (training, another argument) and technology. All three are produced through human activity so will include errors. Changes in law and education related to driving seem to have made little difference for many years. Technology, however, has advanced producing safer vehicles. Machines have no emotions and are not subject to human distractions or fatigue.
Perfecting their performance has to be a priority. Machines appear more easily modified and reliable than minds?
A bit of a ramble and if it survives criticism it may be of use?
The statistics are horrendous. There can be neither complacency nor acceptance.

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