The Department for Transport (DfT) launched their Strategic Framework for Road Safety on 11 May 2011.
The new framework sets out the government’s proposals to reduce the numbers of those killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads.
The focus is on education for drivers who make genuine mistakes and can be helped to improve. It also calls for better action against the most dangerous and deliberate offenders and an increase in road safety information.
The move came on the same day that the United Nations launched their Decade of Action for Road Safety and it is hoped that it will help save more lives and reduce injuries in Britain.
The framework includes plans for the training of disqualified drivers before licences are reinstated and to issue fixed penalty notices to careless drivers.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) welcomed the framework, and in particular retraining and retesting of disqualified drivers, but issued a note of caution in respect of fixed penalty notices;
“We recognise that there could be an element of subjectivity in deciding what constitutes more minor careless driving for which a fixed penalty would be appropriate and more serious offences, for which there should be a prosecution. The police and public need to understand the types of behaviour that constitute a fixed penalty offence and those which should go to court.”
According to DfT figures release last year, there were 2,222 road accident fatalities in Britian in 2009, which was down 12% from 2008 and down 38% from the years 1994-98. 24,690 people were seriously injured, (down 5% from 2008 and down 61% from 1994-98) and 195,234 were slightly injured in road accidents reported to the police (down 4% from 2008 and down 37% from 1994-98).
Whilst the decreasing figures are encouraging it must be remembered that not all road accidents are reported, and certainly not those where there are only minor injuries. Any effort to tackle these figures must be welcomed and it is hoped that further improvements are made in the coming years.
You can read the Strategic Framework for Road Safety in full at www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/strategicframework/pdf/strategicframework.pdf.