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Higher risk of accidents on UK roads

Europe’s largest organisation of engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), says the loss of focus brought about by the removal of road safety targets could lead to more road traffic accidents in different parts of the country.

Targets set in 2000 by the government led directly to a fall in road deaths of almost 50% due to the impetus this forced on local authorities to create road safety partnerships.

The warning is sounded as the professional engineering body submits evidence to the Transport Select Committee, which is investigating the impact of the Government’s Strategic Framework for Road Safety. The Framework, published by the Department for Transport earlier in the year, shifted from the former targets based programme, to an outcomes framework. Evidence shows that long-term targets would help local authorities to reduce deaths and serious injuries on UK roads.

Professor Phil Blythe, Chairman of the IET Transport Policy Panel said:

“Long term targets are proven to produce results leading to less deaths and serious injuries on our roads. The local accountability basis of the Framework is a good approach to take, however, smaller authorities will, because of cuts, be unable to maintain any road safety targets at all. This will result in a postcode lottery where people in some areas will be safer on our roads than others.”

The IET cites analysis by the OECD, which shows that countries with targets performed better, and had on average 17% fewer fatalities than countries without targets.

The IET’s submitted evidence highlights the results achieved from ‘Tomorrow’s Roads – Safer for Everyone’, which set ten-year casualty reduction targets that started in 2000. The targets were exceeded, and led to a fall in deaths by 48%.

 

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