The Road Safety Foundation is backing the Safe Roads for All report released today by an alliance of road safety experts and organisations. The group urges Government to launch a robust and far-reaching Road Safety Strategy that addresses safe and healthy mobility as well as preventing death and serious injuries on our roads and streets.
The report proposes actions to improve the safety of roads, vehicles and drivers alongside providing better support for road victims. It calls for Government to:
- Adopt a long-term, ethical goal of zero deaths and serious injuries and a target of a 50% reduction in deaths and serious injuries in crashes by 2030, which is the target of the global Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 supported by the World Health Organisation and UN resolutions.
- Upgrade roads to reduce risk and provide facilities to support healthier travel choices for young and old alike.Prioritising traffic-free space for people cycling and walking that also connects us to good public transport, as well as 20mph limits in urban areas, and measures that protect us in vehicles, such as crash barriers and junction design, including a focus on local roads between places.
- Make vehicle safety and emission standards world-leading including putting into UK law vehicle safety regulations recently adopted in the European Union.
- Help drivers to be safe, through measures such as phased driver licensing and a lowered drink drive limit, giving police the power to stop and test for impairment, and rules for businesses using fleets of vehicles and gig-economy workers.
- Help road victims, through increased funding for the National Road Victim Service, which supports bereaved and injured families.
The report also calls for two new bodies to be established in Government: a Road Collision Investigation and Safety Standards Agency, to investigate crashes and inform and develop standards (similar to existing agencies for aviation and rail safety); and a Road Safety Board, to set goals and targets and direct actions needed to be undertaken by the Department for Transport, Local Authorities and other agencies.
Its proposals emphasise that the savings to Government, society and the planet from measures in our cities, towns and villages and on our rural roads far outstrip the costs. Measures like safer infrastructure delivered through cycleways and footways, safe crossings, crash barriers and safer junctions can prevent death and serious injury and are very cost effective.
Safe Roads for All highlights that the Government’s own figures estimate a ‘value of prevention’ of crashes alone of £33.5bn, including medical and ambulance costs, police costs, lost output (e.g., ability to work), and human impact (such as pain, shock and grief). The report refers to the Road Safety Foundation’s Building Back Safer – making roads fit for 2030, published earlier this year, which suggests that for every £1 the Government spends on safer road infrastructure, £3.70 could be saved.
Dr Suzy Charman, Executive Director of the Road Safety Foundation and co-author of the report said: “Safe Roads for All is about providing roads and streets that meet the needs of everyone in society: young children on the school run; hauliers moving goods; commuters getting to work; and older adults engaging with their communities. It is so important that people are safe and feel safe so that we can all be better connected and enjoy the benefits of healthy and active travel.
“This alliance is calling on Government to be bold and adopt a long-term vision for safe and healthy mobility that moves us away from the status quo and drives us towards a vision of roads and streets free from death and serious injury – making road travel as safe as travel by rail and air. To get there, greater funding will be needed for road authorities (national and local), where the case for investment in safer road infrastructure really stacks up.”
Safe Roads for All is available here: www.saferoadsforall.org