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Spending cuts threaten road safety

Travelling on Britain’s roads can be dangerous for all road users, whether they are in vehicles, on bikes, or on foot. Therefore the news that the Government intends to cut public spending on road safety campaigns has been greeted with concern by one of the country’s road safety charities.

Road casualty figure remain high

The number of road traffic accidents suffered by travellers on our roads was revealed in the latest road casualty figures from the Department for Transport.

The figures show that although there was a 2% fall in the overall number of road casualties, there was a 3% increase in the number of people killed, and a 2% increase in the number seriously injured. There was also a 0.2% increase in the amount of motor vehicle traffic.

Further analysis of the data shows that in 2011:

  • The number of fatalities fell for three types of road user, with a fall of 22% for bus and coach occupants, 10% for motor cyclists, 4% for pedal cyclists.
  • An estimated 9,990 reported casualties (5% of all road casualties) occurred when someone was driving whilst over the legal alcohol limit. The provisional number of people estimated to have been killed in drink drive accidents was 280 (15% of all road fatalities).
  • Failing to look properly was the most frequently reported contributory factor and was reported in 42% of all accidents reported to the police.

Spending cuts

Considering the rise in the number of deaths and serious injuries that took place on our roads last year, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is concerned at the news that the Government has made significant cuts to spending on road safety campaigns.

In response to a freedom of information inquiry submitted by the IAM, the Government revealed that it has cut spending on road safety campaigns from £19 million in 2008/09 to just £4 million in 2011/12 – a cut of nearly 80%.

Road safety spending

In total, the Department for Transport will be spending only £3.57 million on road safety in the 2012/13 financial year. This will include:

  • £53,000 spent on cyclist safety,
  • £78,000 on child and teenager road safety,
  • £50,000 on research into young drivers,
  • £1.275 million on motorcycle campaigns; and
  • £1.689 million on drink-drive campaigns.
  • Cyclists and children remain vulnerable

The IAM is particularly concerned about the impact of these cuts on the safety of cyclists and children.

“£53,000 is a derisory amount to spend on national cycle safety campaigns,” said IAM director of policy Neil Greig. “Until we have the right roads infrastructure in place, publicity and education campaigns are one of the few tools we have to help us save cyclists lives.

“£78,000 for children’s safety campaigns is virtually insignificant,” he added.” If the government is serious about safety for these groups, these amounts must be increased. ”

The IAM concerns are understandable, considering that the latest road casualty figures showed a 9% rise in child deaths in 2011.

Although the number of cyclists killed on the roads in 2011 fell by 4%, there was a 16% increase in the number that were seriously injured, indicating that this group of road users continue to be one of the more vulnerable groups on our roads.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.


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