“We can no longer accept sudden, violent road death as such a significant cause of premature loss of life. The UK government must design, plan and legislate to put safety on roads on the same footing as safety in the air, sea or on rail.”
This is the stark message given by Road Safety Foundation Chairman, Lord Whitty in a report launched in the House of Lords today. Making Road Safety Pay, commissioned by the third largest UK motor insurer Ageas UK, makes seven key recommendations towards achieving these goals. It complements a second report also published today by the charity. How safe are you on Britain’s roads? identifies the current state of the road network and gives clear indications where engineering improvements should be focused.
The Road Safety Foundation report’s seven key recommendations aim to change the national focus on road safety over the next decade. These will act as a platform for all road safety stakeholders to discuss and develop new practical measures that will set the UK on a track to achieving zero road deaths within the next decade and reduce the cost of road crashes to the economy estimated at 2% of GDP.
The recommendations include:
1. The Department for Transport should develop a ten year ‘Towards Zero’ strategy for road deaths.
2. The Government should pilot innovative Social Impact Bonds (‘Safety Bonds’) to finance new safety programmes.
3. The Government should introduce a zero Insurance Premium tax (IPT) rate for insured vehicles fitted with a telematics unit for drivers under the age of 25, based on a business case that includes data from real driving experience given to the charity through Ageas’s partnership with ingenie.
4. Britain should develop a National Older Driver Strategy and create a taskforce to implement this plan.
5. Low speed Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) should be standard on all new cars. The EU should mandate low speed AEB as standard on new cars from 2017.
6. Minimum inbuilt safety levels of 4-stars are needed for the busiest national roads and minimum 3-stars for all other national roads by 2025.
7. Establish an independent Road Safety Inspectorate and raise the safety of local authority ‘A’ roads to a 3-star minimum level by 2030.
The full recommendations can be found in the Executive Summary of the Making Road Safety Pay report.
“Advancing technology means safety on the roads can be designed as a single system,” says Lord Whitty. “Modern car and road design properly implemented and working together is capable of protecting us at a level which was unimaginable just two decades ago.
“Designing and implementing this ‘Safe Road Transport System’ means a new approach to sharing and accepting responsibility: drivers for driving safely; vehicle manufacturers for providing safe vehicles; and road authorities for providing safe road infrastructure.”
Andy Watson, CEO, Ageas UK added: “I am pleased that the Road Safety Foundation has highlighted a number of specific areas that can help make our roads and drivers safer. We look forward to working with the Government and other stakeholders in developing a ‘towards zero’ strategy for road deaths. A key component of the Making Road Safety Pay report is that there are also financial incentives that can reduce the costs of road crashes, suffering and the sad loss of life seen on our roads.”
Findings from the report will be presented to a number of interested organisations and political stakeholders at a parliamentary reception hosted by Lord Whitty (Road Safety Foundation Chairman) in Westminster later today.
Download the report
Download the full Making Road Safety Pay report.