This week I have been reading the Department for Transport Business Plan 2011 – 2015.

As you might suspect the coalition’s priorities are about tackling carbon and congestion but not road safety; when money is tight, safety comes well done the list. A couple of the things listed under the heading ‘The Department will no longer…’ caught my eye:

“The Department will no longer micromanage local traffic management schemes with unnecessary requirements for central government approval.”

How very considerate of the government, they have cut funding and now they can say “it’s not our fault” when it all goes wrong!

The other statement is: “The Department will no longer waste money on ineffective national advertising and marketing campaigns.”

So I assume the Christmas TV drink driving adverts won’t be on our screens this year. In my 20 years experience of driver training the one thing I have learnt, is unless you keep reminding drivers about safe driving they will slip back in to their old habits. It may not be this year, but I predict that within a year or two, the crashes involving alcohol will increase. Note I didn’t say the number of drink driving convictions will rise, in fact they will probably decrease as the numbers of police traffic officers are reduced due to the cuts.

As you read through the business plan you may, like me, be a little puzzled by the dates by which actions will be completed. For example: “Action 4.5 – Respond to the North report on drink/drug driving and work with the Home Office to authorise the use of drug screening technology in police stations. To be completed by June 2011.”

Then when you look at ‘Milestones’ it says: “Drug screening technology authorised in police stations June 2011.” That’s looks to me like it’s a done deal! Why bother responding to a report if you have already decided at least seven months earlier to implement it?

Having read the business plan, my conclusion is that we can expect our roads to become more dangerous, as road safety falls further down the government’s and everyone else priority list. Maybe that’s why we don’t have a casualty reduction target anymore, or am I just getting more cynical in my old age?

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