Road Casualty Increase — The Medicine Isn't Working, so Increasing the Dose Won't Work
ABD calls for a radical rethink of UK road safety policies
Following today's announcement of a 4% increase in road casualties in the twelve months to March 2014 1
the ABD calls for a radical rethink of UK road safety policies.
Spokesman Brian Macdowall explains:
“Every time road casualties are mentioned everybody jumps on the same bandwagon of more restrictions, lower speed limits and more cameras, despite the fact that these measures have been shown time and again not to work. A vast industry has developed to sell the idea to the public that this is the answer. It's a self perpetuating spiral.”
The ABD calls for:
- Reverting to the 85th percentile speed (the speed at or below which 85% of drivers would normally travel) as the basis of setting speed limits, which is recommended by ACPO (the Association of Chief Police Officers) and has been found across the world to produce the lowest frequency of accidents 2.
- Enforce strongly against the really dangerous drivers. Very few people are killed by drivers exceeding limits by small margins yet these remain by far the biggest enforcement target. Yet the really dangerous, the car thieves, the unlicensed, the serious drink drivers and drug users, those who drive carelessly and recklessly, including driving far too fast for the conditions in inappropriate places, get treated very leniently. This needs to change.
- Educate from an early age. The ABD has called for years for driving (and general road use) to be part of the national curriculum. Pre-driving age children should be able to gain off-road experience, not only of car control but also the mental risk management skills required for safe driving, as taught by, for example, the Under-17 Car Club 3.
- Driving must be a continual learning process. Drivers should be incentivised to take advanced style training, particularly in the years following initial test pass.
- A national road accident investigation body must be set up as for rail and air. This would be tasked not with establishing blame, but assessing how similar accidents could be prevented in future and putting forward recommendations.
- Look at practices from other countries that have been successful and assess how they could work in the UK. Many are ahead of the game in realising the current UK methods don't work. 4
- Increase level of traffic police presence on the road. Allow them to use discretion using education and enforcement and remove any quotas, which are destructive.
- Look at who is involved in making road safety decisions, their motives and vested interests. Decisions should be made by experts in road safety, not local politicians looking for votes and not influenced by unqualified amateur pressure groups, breakdown insurers 'road safety' charities or public transport pressure groups.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. Reported road casualties in Great Britain — provisional estimates Jan to Mar 2014
2. ACPO — Police Service responses to DfT guidance on setting local speed limits
3. Under 17 Car Club [pdf]
4. Is Every Speed Limit Too Low?
Notes for Editors about the ABD
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