Liverpool taking the lead in Road Safety

Recently, the Transport Select Committee published a report on road safety and in particular highlighted the positive progress made by Liverpool towards 20 mph zones, recommending that these zones should be copied across the country.

The 2nd Report on Road Safety, which can be found at http://tinyurl.com/buz9z8j highlighted the on-going work between the city council and the Primary Care Trust to fund the introduction of 20 mph zones in residential areas.

These zones save lives in built-up areas, improve safety for all and help create a better environment. Other cities should be encouraged to follow the Liverpool template and the impressive work the committee saw in Halton during a committee visit to the borough.

The Government should encourage the development of inter-agency partnerships and include examples of best practice in securing joint working in its forthcoming guidance for local authorities.

The report also concluded that a recent surge in road deaths should be a “wake-up call” for the government to provide stronger leadership on road safety. 2011 saw the first increase in road fatalities since 2003, with 1901 people killed on the roads nationwide. It is shocking that road accidents are the main cause of death amongst young adults aged 16-24 and that so many cyclists continue to be killed or injured.

In 2010 there were 283 fatalities amongst car occupants aged 16-25. 27% of young men aged 17-19 are involved in a road collision within the first year of passing their test.

If the government is not willing to set targets, it should show more leadership.

Action is required to improve road safety for young drivers, including an independent review of driver training. The committee welcomes the attention cycling has received but there is much more to do.

The Committee also highlights the variability in road safety performance between local authorities. The evidence the committee gathered suggests the principal factor in improving road safety is robust political leadership.

The Committee urged a reassessment of road safety strategy, including:

  • More attention should be given to engineering improvements in road design and technology and the Government should account for recent increases in the number of road fatalities
  • Any proposal to increase the motorway speed limit should follow approval from MPs
  • Highlight best practice by local authorities, in particular noting innovative practices and multi-agency approaches
  • Provide an update of the initial findings of the Governments Learning to Drive programme
  • An independent review of driver training to reduce the casualty rate for young drivers
  • Encourage HGV’s to fit sensors to improve cycle safety
  • Report on motor cycle training and learn from previous mistakes in implementing changes to motor cycle testing in response to European directives

Background

In 2011, 1,901 people were killed in road accidents. This is the first annual increase in road fatalities since 2003 and a 3% increase compared to 2010.

25,023 people were killed or seriously injured, an increase of 2% from 2010 and the first annual increase since 1994.

In 2011, 3,085 cyclists were killed or seriously injured. The number of people killed or seriously injured remains lower than any year since national records began, except for 2010.

The Government has not so far provided any specific explanation for these increases and it remains unclear whether this marks the beginning of a new trend in road deaths.