London, 1 Dec 2004.
For immediate release.

Contact the ABD

Press Release

"Sticking Plaster" Road Safety Bill Shows Government Running Out of Ideas on Road Deaths
The Road Safety Bill, published today, is full of sticking plaster measures which do nothing but illustrate how deep is the hole the Government have dug for themselves on this issue.
Road death numbers have failed to improve significantly in the last ten years, despite record levels of investment in so called safety measures, many more restrictions on drivers and unprecedented criminalisation of a majority group of responsible citizens.
"The Government is at a loss to understand why all this nonsense has failed to cut deaths like their advisors told them it would," said the ABD's Nigel Humphries. "So it's small wonder they are bereft of ideas as to how to turn things around."
Variable speeding fines are simply a vehicle of convenience for the Government.
On the one hand, they can ratchet up penalties for normal drivers without taking up court time. On the other, the reduced points for marginal speeding offences committed by the slowest group of drivers is an attempt to shore up wavering support for camera policy amongst this group by ending "Granny lost her licence going to the shops" type headlines.
The ABD would support variable penalties if the speed limits really were set at the maximum safe speed for normal drivers in good conditions, like it says in the Highway Code. But when limits are being constantly ratcheted down to levels which criminalise normal, safe behaviour, and local authorities are allowed to do what they please without accountability, they become a farce.
"Mr Jamieson says that the six points at 45mph proposal penalises reckless drivers," said ABD Safety Spokesman Mark McArthur-Christie. "That may be true on residential roads, but we'd love to show him some of the 30mph limits created by over zealous councils and ask him to justify why 45mph is reckless there."
The real solution to road safety is to have more police on the road, not sitting on bridges collecting fine revenue or penalising people for using phones in traffic jams, but out there looking for people who show evidence of careless and reckless driving.
Reasonable speed limits and sensible policing have to return to Britain's roads before we can even start improving road safety.
Only once this happens can we start to repair the damage done over the past fifteen years and begin to improve the competence and attitude of Britain's drivers.
"The ABD wants positive measures to tackle road deaths much more effectively," continues Humphries. "But there is little chance of that whilst senior Government safety advisers like Robert Gifford of PACTS think that driving skill just means killing yourself at a higher speed."


Notes for Editors