Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Graham Hurdle blog: 6 November - Government road safety budgets down, targets gone, road deaths up
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Graham Hurdle blog: 6 November - Government road safety budgets down, targets gone, road deaths up

Date: 06 November 2015

Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World

The Department of Transport's Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2014 Annual Report doesn't make good reading.

There were 1775 reported road deaths in 2014, an increase of 4% compared with 2013. The number of people seriously injured in reported road traffic accidents increased by 5% to 22,807 in 2014. A total of 194,477 people were killed or injured in reported road accidents in 2014, the first increase in overall casualties since 1997. 


So is there a link between the rise in killed and injured and the Government cuts in road safety budgets? All the evidence points to the fact that to reduce crashes you need to keep reminding drivers about the road safety message. Perhaps why Andrew Wetters, policy advisor workplace transport, Health and Safety Executive, recently told an ACFO seminar that employers should make driver risk assessments at least annually, advice that I agree with to continue to maintain that safe driving message in every driver's mind. 


Yet with Government investment down, and the previous coalition government scrapping targets, we're unlikely to see an improvement.


Targets are not always popular, and I sympathise to some degree when motorists feel the Police have a prosecution quota for speeding, which is deemed by many as more target driven than safety driven. However, surely a target to reduce the number of deaths can never be argued against, which is why I would like to see ones for road safety reintroduced. 


We used to have road safety advertisements on television; they have been stopped to save money. The whole public profile of safe driving used to be higher - think bike, clunk click, don't drink and drive.


No longer having these is a false economy, as the impact on the NHS and emergency services of increased accidents is surely more costly than a TV advert. I appreciate the money comes from a different budget, but that is part of the problem. Governments in my view should look at the whole costs when deciding whether to make cuts. 


Finally there are sufficient laws to ensure drivers and companies comply with road safety, yet there seems to me a reluctance, and a lack of resource, to enforce them.  


So, to reverse the road crash statistics, Governments need to put road safety back on their agenda and make it their priority, yet I doubt if we'll see this for some time. But if more companies make the management of occupational road risk a priority, the fleet sector can do its bit to reverse the numbers.


Don't let one of your drivers be a rising statistic in the next Department of Transport report. Make safe driving part of your company culture.