A bolder strategy is need to address road safety according to the Transport Select Committee Report ‘Ending the Scandal of Complacency: Road Safety beyond 2010’ published today.
The report calls for, amongst other initiatives, the need for:
- Greater power to be given to local authorities to introduce 20mph limits
- Increased enforcement to tackle drink driving
- The creation of a road safety commission
The report rightly points out that road safety is a ‘major public health problem of our age’. Every 6 seconds someone is killed or seriously injured on the world’s roads and as a public health issue it is on the scale of malaria and tuberculosis. Reducing death and injury on all roads is undoubtedly of central importance.
Many of the committee recommendations are sound and timely. The Foundation has long called for greater police presence and enforcement, and the issue of unlicensed and uninsured driving needs greater attention. 20mph zones have a role to play, but more research is needed before blanket 20mph zones are widely implemented in urban areas. Policy development in this area should not speed ahead of understanding, local considerations or public acceptance. As we move towards future policy we must also not forget the importance of ‘getting the basics’ right such as enforcing mobile phone and seatbelt laws.