Articles Tagged ‘Department for Transport - Brake the road safety charity’

Brake calls for reintroduction of casualty reduction targets, as road deaths and serious injuries rise

Thursday 24 September 2015

Brake, the road safety charity

news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on the government to show strong leadership and reintroduce casualty reduction targets as the Department for Transport publishes its Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain Annual Report for 2014. It shows that 1,775 people died on the roads (a 4% increase on the year before). 22,807 more were seriously injured (a 5% annual increase).

Casualties of all severities rose to 194,477 in Great Britain in 2014, an increase of 6% from 2013, interrupting what was a steady downward trend since 1997.

Brake believes the reintroduction of ambitious casualty reduction targets, axed in 2010, must be a key first step in an urgently needed fightback against road danger, alongside a ‘vision zero’ approach that acknowledges that any number of road deaths is unacceptable.

People on foot and bike bore the brunt of the rise:

  • Pedestrian deaths rose by 12% to 446, accounting for three quarters of the overall rise in fatalities.
  • Serious injuries to cyclists rose by 8% to 3,401, continuing a long term trend that has been ongoing since 2004.

Worryingly, traffic levels in 2014 were 2.4% higher than in 2013. Air pollution is estimated to cause 24,000 deaths a year in the UK, half attributable to road transport [1].  The number of cars is set to increase by 43% by 2035 and traffic delays by 50% [2].

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “We should be under no illusions as to the seriousness of these figures. The government needs to get a grip of this situation, and it can start by reintroducing ambitious casualty reduction targets, with an ultimate aim of reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads to zero. We know from running our helpline for devastated road crash victims that every road death causes unimaginable human suffering, and every one is preventable. The increases in serious casualties among pedestrians and cyclists are especially horrifying, given the importance of protecting vulnerable road users and enabling people to walk and cycle more.

“At a time when car manufacturers have serious questions to answer on vehicle emissions, it is worrying to see a growth in vehicle traffic. The price for this is being paid by individuals, families and the planet, and it’s not a price worth paying. That’s why our theme for this year’s Road Safety Week, Drive less, live more, is focused on encouraging people to think again about why, when and how we drive private vehicles.”

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes

 [1] The Cost of Air Pollution, OECD (2014)

 [2] Keeping the Nation Moving – Time to face the facts, RAC Foundation (2011)

 

Brake comments as learner drivers set to have motorway lessons from 2018

News from Brake
Sunday 13 August, 2017
news@brake.org.uk

Learner drivers will be able to have lessons on motorways, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced. The changes will come into effect from 2018, when learners will be allowed on motorways with an approved driving instructor in a dual control car. Commenting on the announcement, Jason Wakeford, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Young drivers are involved in a high proportion of crashes that kill and seriously injure because of inexperience and the tendency of some to take risks. Improved training before and after getting a licence is essential to improving road safety.

"Rather than allowing learner drivers on the motorway, there should instead be a requirement for all newly-qualified drivers to receive mandatory lessons, including on the motorway, once they've passed their test. There needs to be much wider reform to the learning to drive system, including a minimum learning period and restrictions for newly-qualified drivers, such as a late night curfew. This graduated driver licensing approach has helped dramatically reduce road casualties in countries including Australia, and could save lives here in the UK too.

"There should also be better access to affordable public transport so fewer young people see starting driving in their teens as a necessity."

[ENDS]

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.e not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake comments as road fatalities reach four year high

News from Brake
Thursday 28 September 2017
news@brake.org.uk

There has been a rise in the number of people killed on roads in Great Britain, according to new Government statistics.

Figures out today from the Department for Transport show that 1,792 people were killed in collisions last year, up four per cent since 2015 and the highest annual total since 2011.

A total of 24,101 people were seriously injured last year - a rise of nine per cent (from 22,144 in 2015), which is being attributed by the Government at least in part due to changes in the way many police forces now report collision data [1].

The figures also reveal there has been no reduction in deaths of people on foot,bicycles and motorbikes since 2012.

Commenting on today's report, Jason Wakeford, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Today's figures graphically illustrate the daily carnage taking place on roads across Britain. On average, five people continue to lose their lives each and every day - a deeply worrying figure which has not improved for some six years.

"Progress on road safety has stalled, pressing the need for a road collision investigation branch, similar to those already in existence for air, rail and sea, so that lessons can be learned to prevent future crashes. Only through in-depth investigation, at a national level, can solutions be found to stem the needless deaths on the roads every day.

"New drivers continue to be involved in a disproportionally large number of collisions. Brake is calling for the introduction of a graduated licensing system, including a minimum learning period and restrictions for newly-qualified drivers, to help new motorists build up their skills and experience more safely and over a longer period of time. This approach has dramatically reduced young road casualties in countries including Australia, New Zealand and across many states in the USA.

"We are also calling for a review of speed limits on rural roads - where most deaths occur - and for 'Voluntary Intelligent Speed Adaptation', which helps drivers keep within the limit, to be fitted as standard to new cars as part of proposals being considered by the European Commission."

[ENDS]

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/reported-road-casualties-great-britain-annual-report-2016

Notes to editors:

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Brake comments on announcement of new Road Safety Statement

News from Brake
Wednesday, 13 June 2018
 
The Department for Transport has today (Wednesday 13 June) announced plans for a refreshed road safety statement, with a 2 year action plan to address 4 priority user groups – young people, rural road users, motorcyclists and older vulnerable users [1]. This comes alongside publication of a progress report on the 2015 Road Safety Statement and the announcement of the successful bids for the Safer Roads Fund [2].
 
The announcements come in a week where the Prime Minister announced 2 new road safety projects: £350,000 innovation competition to provide police forces with the next generation of mobile breathalyser equipment, enabling swifter and more timely read-outs on drink-driving tests; and a £480,000 partnership between police forces and the RAC Foundation to trial an innovative approach to road collision investigation, carrying out more in-depth, qualitative analysis of the underlying causes of road safety incidents [3].
 
Commenting on the announcements, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
“The recent raft in road safety announcements is much welcomed and shows that the Government is taking the UK’s stalled progress in road safety seriously. Progress has undoubtedly been made on the road safety actions laid by the Government in 2015, however, we urge the new Road Safety Statement to be much, much bolder in its ambition.”
 
“The Government’s focus on the young and elderly, rural roads and motorcyclists is welcome but the fact is we already have proven policy solutions to many of these challenges. Young driver crashes will be significantly reduced by introducing a Graduated Driver Licensing System. The elderly’s fitness to drive can be monitored through improved communication between doctors and the DVLA and compulsory eyesight tests. And speed limits on rural roads are far too high and must be reduced. We urge the Government to introduce these proven policies as a matter of urgency, ensuring that needless and preventable deaths on our roads are eliminated.”
 
“The Government’s move to improve road collision investigation is long-awaited and much welcomed. However, it is vital that strengthened roads collision investigation provides evidence which actually influences policy change. Data for the sake of data is no use, it must lead to improvements in policy. We owe it to the thousands of people who are  affected by the tragedy of road death every year to ensure that their loved one’s deaths have not been in vain and that we learn from the mistakes of the past.”
 
[ENDS]
 
 
Notes to editors:
 
 
 
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
 
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake comments on cycling offence announcement

News from Brake
Friday, 9 March 2018
 
The Department for Transport has published a report that finds there is a strong case for changing the law to tackle the issue of dangerous and careless cycling that causes injury or death. If this were to be introduced, it would bring cycling in line with driving offences.
 
Commenting on the announcement, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said: “Delivering justice for those who have lost a loved one on our roads is vitally important. Whether a crash was caused by a bike or a car makes no difference to the families devastated by such loss and so we welcome the move by the Government to provide parity in the law.”
 
The publication of the report comes alongside a call for evidence on the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. This is part of the Government’s drive to make cycling and walking safer, while encouraging more people to take up cycling at all ages.
 
Mr Harris said: “Getting more journeys to be taken by bike or by foot, rather than by car, can deliver significant personal and public health benefits. Brake welcomes this opportunity to improve the road environment for cyclists and pedestrians and urges the Government to not shy away from the big decisions, such as implementing and enforcing safer speed limits.”
 
A Brake and Direct Line report [1], published yesterday (Thursday 8 March), found that drivers are deterred from choosing to cycle by the nature of the current road environment. Drivers stated that the 60mph speed limit on single-carriageway A roads is too fast to assure the safety of cyclists and that both the warning signs and space available for cyclists are inadequate.
 
Drivers have called on the Government to address these concerns by investing in building segregated, tarmacked cycle paths alongside the single-carriageway A road network, prioritising this above any expansion of the road itself. Brake and Direct Line’s report finds that such investment would significantly increase the numbers of those cycling, as whilst 70 per cent of drivers state that they currently never cycle on single-carriageway A roads, more than half state that they would be persuaded to if there was a demarcated space for cyclists.
 
Mr Harris said: “Contrary to popular opinion, drivers have told us that they are willing to switch modes and cycle if safe facilities are available. We echo this call and urge the Government to prioritise investment in safe, segregated cycle routes.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to editors
 
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake comments on increase in drink-driving crashes in 2016

News from Brake
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
 
The Department for Transport has published provisional estimates [1] on personal injury drink drive crashes in Great Britain for 2016 [2]. These show a statistically significant rise in all key crash data, relating to at least one driver being over the alcohol limit: the number of fatalities; the number of killed or injured; and the total number of crashes [3].
 
Commenting on the statistics, Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said: “These figures must be a wake-up call to the Government, forcing them to act now to eradicate the menace of drink-driving from our roads. The number of drink-drive related deaths, injuries and total crashes in 2016 have all increased from levels which were already unacceptable. This deeply concerning trend highlights the urgent need for the Government to enforce an effective zero tolerance drink-driving level across the UK [4].
 
“Research has shown even very small amounts of alcohol dramatically affect safe driving - drivers with just 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol at all [5].
 
“The current drink-driving limit gives a false impression that it is safe to drink and drive. Only by changing this perception can we eradicate the needless loss of life caused by alcohol on our roads. Brake is calling for the Government to implement an effective zero tolerance drink-drive limit of 20mg per 100ml of blood, making clear to drivers that not a drop of alcohol is safe.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to editors
 
[1] Updated 2016 final estimates for casualties in reported drink-drive accidents are scheduled to be published in August 2018.
[3] “Provisional estimates for 2016 show that between 200 and 280 people were killed in accidents in Great Britain where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit, with a central estimate of 240 deaths… An estimated 9,050 people were killed or injured when at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit… The total number of collisions and accidents where at least one driver was over the alcohol limit rose by 6 per cent to 6,080 in 2016”
 
About Brake
 
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
 
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
 
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.
 

Brake comments on new drink driving figures

News from Brake
Thursday 3 August, 2017
news@brake.org.uk

Two hundred people were killed in car crashes in Great Britain where at least one driver was over the drink drive limit, according to new Department for Transport figures. While the number of people killed in drink drive related collisions fell in 2015, the numbers killed and seriously injured, as well as  drink drive collisions, both rose [1].

Commenting on the new figures, Jason Wakeford, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Selfish drink drivers destroy lives and inflict appalling suffering on families up and down the country. There will be more, unrecorded, casualties involving drivers impaired by alcohol but under the current limit.

"The drink drive limit in England and Wales is the second highest in Europe and must be lowered urgently. In addition, savage cuts to road traffic policing must be reversed and enforcement increased to crack down on dangerous drink drivers."

[ENDS]

Notes to editors:

[1] 1,370 people were estimated to have been killed or seriously injured in drink drive crashes in 2015 in England and Wales. The estimated total number of crashes where at least one driver was over the alcohol limit rose by 2 per cent to 5,730 in 2015. Full DfT report: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/635345/road-accidents-illegal-alcohol-levels-2015-final.pdf

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake comments on news that the Government will look into Graduated Driver Licensing in the UK

News from Brake
Thursday, 8 February 2018
 
The Prime Minister has stated that she will ask the Department for Transport to look into the issue of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) in the UK, in response to a question from Jenny Chapman MP at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, 7 February.
 
Commenting on the statement, Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said: “Ensuring that novice drivers have the skills and experience to drive safely on all types of roads, and in all scenarios, is an urgent priority. Our current licensing system is not fit for purpose and throws newly-qualified drivers in at the deep-end, at great risk to themselves and others.
 
“We are encouraged that the Government will look into the issue of Graduated Driver Licensing, however, this process must result in positive change. Young and novice drivers are involved in a disproportionate number of road crashes [1] and the introduction of a comprehensive Graduated Driver Licensing system is critical to reverse this trend.
 
“Brake is calling upon the Government to bring the UK’s licensing system in line with best practice worldwide, requiring a minimum of 10 hours professional tuition for learner drivers and introducing a novice license, with restrictions in place for two years following on from the practical driving test [2]. We look forward to working with the Government on their review of this issue.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to editors
 
 
 
Brake’s position on GDL
Brake recommends the following measures should be implemented to introduce Graduated Driver Licensing to the UK.
Learner drivers
  • Minimum learning period of one year before learner drivers can take their practical driving test, theory test and hazard awareness test.
  • The learner’s licence should not be fully valid until the learner driver has received a minimum of 10 hours’ professional tuition in a car with dual controls.
  • Learner drivers, as at present, must be supervised while driving, and the minimum age of accompanying drivers should be raised to 25.
  • Accompanying drivers should be registered as ‘approved accompanying drivers’ by completing a questionnaire to prove their suitability.
  • Learner drivers should have the same restrictions placed upon them as novice drivers (see below).
Novice drivers
  • Drivers should hold a novice licence for two years after passing a practical driving test. 
  • Novice drivers should be allowed to drive unsupervised, but with certain restrictions on their driving, including: 
    • Novice drivers should not carry passengers who are younger than 25 unless supervised. Novice drivers who are parents or carers and need to carry children should be exempt from this restriction.
    • Novice drivers should not drive between 11pm and 6am, unless supervised or travelling directly from home to work or school. 
    • Novice drivers should have a zero tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg of alcohol per 100ml blood (Brake recommends this for all drivers). 
    • Novice drivers should not drive on motorways.
  • Novice drivers should be restricted in the size of engine they can drive.
  • Any driving offences, or failure to comply with the restrictions during this period, should result in automatic disqualification.
  • Novice drivers should be required to take a further 10 hours of professional tuition, during which they must drive on motorways and at night.
  • Novice drivers should be required to pass a second driving test at the end of the two year period to help ensure safe driving on all types of roads.

 

About Brake
 
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake concerned about suggestion of raising licence renewal age

3 March 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

In response to reports the Department for Transport may consider increasing the age at which drivers must renew their licence from 70 to 80, Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:

"It is concerning the Department for Transport is considering raising the age for licence renewal: regulation that's in place for good reason. At this age, conditions that can significantly impair your ability to drive safely become much more common, so it's essential we have robust procedures to ensure older drivers are not inadvertently putting themselves and others in grave danger. Licence renewal prompts older drivers to check and self-certify they are fit to drive. Brake is calling on government to strengthen fitness to drive regulation to help prevent needless tragedies, such as through compulsory eyesight testing throughout your driving career and health checks for older drivers. Brake recommends older drivers visit their GP and have sight and hearing tests at least annually – or sooner if they notice a problem – to ensure they are fit enough to continue driving and not unwillingly putting lives on the line when they get behind the wheel."

Read about Brake's Sharpen up campaign to ensure all drivers' eyesight is safe to drive.

Brake
Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 63 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (17-23 November 2014), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake condemns government decision to increase speed limit for lorries on single carriageways

Thursday 24 July 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, has expressed serious concerns about plans announced today by the Department of Transport to raise the speed limit for lorries on single carriageway roads to 50mph.

The announcement comes as a survey by Brake and Digby Brown solicitors reveals the extent of risky driving on country roads.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "We are disappointed and concerned by this announcement. Put simply, when vehicles travel faster, it takes them longer to stop, increasing risk. It is very well evidenced that increases in speed equal increases in crashes and casualties. At the same time, the road safety justification for this move is dubious: we are not aware of evidence it will help tackle risky overtaking, which should be addressed through other means. Pronounced speed differences between traffic can pose a risk, but the way to address this is by preventing car drivers going too fast, not speeding trucks up. The minister says she wants to get the country moving, but we ask at what cost to road users and the environment?

"Our own survey has just revealed the worrying extent of dangerous fast driving on country roads. We should be taking steps to address this, through driver education, lower speed limits and better enforcement. We are concerned for rural communities already blighted by fast traffic and for those who want to safely enjoy the countryside on foot, bike or horseback. This threatens to make these problems worse."

Brake campaigns for lower speed limits – 50mph maximum and 40, 30, and 20mph where there are particular risks – to save lives on country roads through its Rural roads not racetracks campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, #RuralRoadsnotRacetracks.

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake disappointed with government's Road Safety Statement as a missed opportunity to save lives

News from Brake
Immediate issue: 22/12/2015
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity, has expressed disappointment with the Department for Transport's newly-published 'Road Safety Statement' (replacing its previous Road Safety Strategy). Despite calls by Brake and across the road safety sector for stronger leadership from government on preventing devastating road death and injuries following a recent increase in casualties, the Statement fails to include casualty reduction targets or a 'vision zero', which would make clear that the ultimate goal is to reduce deaths to zero. International evidence indicates that targets help to spur progress in road safety , and increasing governments and authorities (including Sweden, Scotland and London) are adopting vision zero approaches.

According to the DfT's Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain Annual Report for 2014 the number of people killed on our roads rose by 4% last year to 1,775, while those seriously injured rose by 5% to 22,807 people. Overall casualties rose by 6%, interrupting what was a steady downward trend since 1997. As national provider of support to bereaved and seriously injured road crash victims (through a helpline and support packs part-funded by the Ministry of Justice), Brake is acutely aware of the terrible suffering caused by every casualty.

Alice Bailey, campaigns officer at Brake, says: "We know from our work supporting devastated road crash victims that every death and injury sends out shockwaves of pain and suffering. We also know from international research and experience that there is far more the government could and should do, to prevent these casualties and enable everyone to get around safely and sustainably. There is some important recognition in this Statement of what good practice in road safety looks like, and the fact that road safety is an issue central to public health and sustainability – and that by improving road safety we can make economic gains too. Yet we're disappointed that the government has failed to include casualty reduction targets, an ambitious vision, or more decisive action on issues like young driver safety, pedestrian safety or drink driving, all of which remain desperately important."

Brake welcomes some aspects of the Road Safety Statement, including the government's recognition of the importance of a 'safe systems' approach. However, Brake believes the government could go much further in implementing evidenced policy to ensure senseless tragedies on our roads fall again, and everyone can get around safely, sustainably and healthily:

Walking and cycling – Brake welcomes the recognition that road safety is a public health and sustainability issue as well as being about casualty prevention, and the inclusion of protecting vulnerable road users as a priority. However Brake believes the government should do far more to ensure nationwide roll-out of traffic-free cycle paths, area-wide 20mph limits, and other measures to make roads more pedestrian and cyclist friendly. See Brake's recent response to the government's Walking and Cycling Investment Strategy and GO 20 campaign.

Mobile phones – Brake supports proposals for tougher penalties (four points and a £150 fine) for using mobile phones at the wheel of a car, but believes this does not go far enough, especially as many first time offenders will be offered educational courses instead. Brake recommends increasing fines to £1,000, to provide a stronger deterrent, and for hands free phones to be included under the ban, in line with research showing the dangers . See Brake's Drive Smart campaign.

Young and novice drivers – Government plans to make improvements to driver learning and testing are not unwelcome, but research shows the introduction of a new system of Graduated Driver Licensing – long recommended by Brake and recognised as best practice globally – would be highly effective in reducing crashes among young and new drivers. It's estimated it could prevent 400 deaths and serious injuries each year if implemented in the UK . See Brake's campaign.

Drink and drug driving – Brake backs the provision of funding to support effective enforcement of the new drug driving law, but is concerned by the ongoing lack of action by Westminster to crack down on drink driving, which remains one of the biggest killers on our roads. Brake advocates a zero-tolerance drink drive limit to make clear it should be 'none for the road'. See Brake's not a drop, not a drag campaign.

About Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on Twitter, Facebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

[1]Using a hands-free mobile whilst driving can be more dangerous than drink driving, Transport Research Laboratory, 2009

[1] Graduated Driver Licensing: A regional analysis of potential casualty savings in Great Britain, RAC Foundation, 2014

Brake responds to hand-held mobile phone consultation

Department for Transport consultation on changes to the Fixed Penalty Notice and penalty points for the use of a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving

Response from Brake, the road safety charity

Brake’s position on mobile phones and driving

Brake welcomes this consultation and its acknowledgement that change is needed but believes none of the options go far enough to make our roads as safe as they could be.

Driving is a highly unpredictable and risky activity, so it requires full concentration at all times. From its extensive work with bereaved and injured road crash victims, Brake understands the devastation caused by people who kill and seriously injure because they couldn’t wait a few more moments to make a phone call.

Evidence shows that mobile phone use at the wheel is a widespread and dangerous activity that results in needless loss of life and devastation to many families every year. Brake constantly scans international research to learn from the best practice of road safety professionals worldwide. This research, when combined with Brake’s long experience in the road safety field, points to policies that can be deployed to address the problem.

On the basis of this evidence, and Brake’s experience supporting traumatised road crash victims, Brake recommends the government:

• ban use of hands-free phones at the wheel, in line with evidence that they increase crash risk just as much as using a hand-held phone, due to the distraction of the phone conversation.
• implement much higher penalties for any driver using a phone of any type at the wheel. We support an increase from the current £100 fixed penalty fine to at least £500-1,000 and at least six penalty points – so drivers take it seriously.
• work across department and with police to ensure increased and adequate resourcing for traffic enforcement, including by making traffic policing a national policing priority.

Some key evidence supporting this position includes:

• Drivers speaking on phones are four times more likely to be in a crash that causes injury, on a hands-free or hand-held phone[i]. Their crash risk remains higher than normal for up to 10 minutes after the call[ii].
• Drivers using phones have slower reaction times and difficulty controlling speed and lane position[iii]. They brake more sharply in response to hazards, increasing the risk of rear-end crashes[iv].
• Some drivers mistakenly believe that talking on a hands-free kit at the wheel is safe[v]. Research shows hands-free calls cause almost the same level of risk as hand-held[vi], as the call itself is the main distraction. Brain scanning has confirmed that speaking on a hands-free phone makes you less alert and less visually attentive[vii].
• Laws that only ban hand-held phones are less effective in reducing crashes, because many drivers simply switch to hands-free phones, so are still distracted[viii]. A Brake and Direct Line survey found that following the UK’s introduction of a ban on using hand-held phones at the wheel in 2003, between 2006 and 2014, the proportion of UK drivers using hand-held mobile phones dropped from 36% to 13%, but those using hands-free rose from 22% to 32%[ix].
• Talking on a phone while driving has been shown to be worse than drinking certain amounts of alcohol. Driver reaction times are 30% slower while using a hands-free phone than driving with a blood alcohol level of 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood, and nearly 50% slower than driving under normal conditions[x].
• Reading and writing messages while driving – such as texting, emailing or social networking – is even more distracting than talking on a phone. Texting drivers have 35% slower reaction times and poor lane control[xi]. One study found texting drivers were 23 times more likely to crash than drivers paying attention[xii].
• Reaching for a mobile phone can be an irresistible temptation for some. In the UK, experts have warned of increasing levels of smartphone addiction by users who are unable to go without checking their phone for short periods or through the night[xiii]. Even the sound of a mobile phone ringing has been found to cause distraction and increase crash risk[xiv].

A survey of 1,000 drivers in a report for Brake and Direct Line[xv] found that nearly half of drivers (47%) want fines for mobile phone use at the wheel increased to £500 or more, while a further 31% want the fine more than doubled to £200.
Brake also believes that further work is needed by government to address the wide issue of driver distractions, including in response to emerging technologies, and to raise driver awareness. See our fact page on the topic.

Option 0 - Do nothing

Brake believes that Option 0 is not a viable option; as acknowledged in the DfT’s own background research to this consultation, the current penalties are failing to stop many drivers from breaking the law.

According to the consultation’s background information in 1.24 What is the problem sectionin 2014, using a mobile phone whilst driving was a contributory factor in 21 fatal accidents (crashes), but it is broadly believed that mobile phone use is dramatically underreported due in part, because of the difficulty in proving that the driver was using a mobile phone at the time of the accident. It is clear, however, that a number of high profile accidents have mobile phone use recorded as a contributory factor.

Behind every one of these numbers is a family and community torn apart by a sudden, violent and preventable death. Another 84 people in that year were reported as seriously injured in mobile phone crashes, some in life changing ways, taking the total reported numbers of people killed and seriously injured in mobile phone crashes to 105: two people every week.

Brake agrees with the DfT’s assertion that these statistics are likely to be greatly under-reported, from both our experience supporting road crash victims, academic research on the risks of phone use at the wheel, and our own behavioural surveys. A 2014 study by Brake and Direct Line[xvi] found almost half of drivers (45%) admitted talking on a mobile at the wheel in the previous year. One in eight (13%) are breaking the law by using a hand-held phone. This was significantly down from 2006 when 36% admitted to doing it, three years after it was banned, but remains a significant minority. This appears to show the current penalties deter some drivers, by no means all. At the same time we found increasing use of hands-free kits, which is a major concern for reasons stated above.

Brake believes the public would support much stronger action and penalties, and respond to stronger penalties and enforcement. This is supported by the latest British Social Attitudes study 2014 [xvii] where it states “67% of people agree that the law on using mobile phones whilst driving is not properly enforced”.

Option 1 - Increasing the Fixed Penalty Notice by 50% from £100 to £150 for all drivers (including HGVs)

Brake’s position on Option 1 is that this level of fine is not a significantly increased deterrent. We are calling for a much higher penalty of at least £500-1,000, so drivers take it seriously. The current levels of fines for using a mobile phone behind the wheel are more comparable with parking penalties than with something like drink driving, whereas the danger is much more akin to the offence of drink-driving as outlined above.

People face much higher fines for many minor offences that pose no threat to human life. For example, the fine for not having a TV licence is up to £1,000, ten times higher than the current fine for using a mobile phone while driving. Many bereaved and injured road crash victims agree that such a low level of fine is insulting, and unhelpful to efforts to raise awareness about the seriousness of this crime. We believe that increasing the fine by just £50 is inadequate in addressing this. Recent research by Brake and Direct Line, as quoted above, shows large majority of drivers support fines of above this level too.

International evidence is clear that tougher penalties pose a stronger deterrent and help to reduce traffic offending and the larger the increase in the fine the greater the drop there will be in that offending[xviii].

Option 2 - Increasing the penalty points from 3 to 4 for non HGV drivers and from 3 to 6 for HGV drivers where the offence was committed in a Large Goods Vehicle

Brake would welcome a doubling of penalty points to six for HGV drivers caught on phones, but if this is seen as the optimum deterrent, we would question why this could not also be implemented for drivers of other vehicles. Brake would strongly recommend this move is extended to drivers of all vehicle types, to ensure the maximum deterrent and make clear this offence is unacceptable no matter what vehicle you are driving.

There appears to be strong evidence for the public favouring this move in the DfT’s consultation notes in 1.22 What is the problem section, stating a YouGov poll in 2014 showed 73% of drivers are in favour of doubling the penalty points for those caught using a mobile phone while driving.

Option 3 - Increasing the FPN by 50% from £100 to £150 for all drivers AND, raising the penalty level from 3 to 4 penalty points for non-HGV drivers and from 3 to 6 penalty points for Large Goods Vehicle licence holders who commit the offence whilst driving a HGV

Option 3 is Brake’s preferred option but we believe this still does not go far enough. As stated previously we are calling for a much higher fixed penalty notice of £500-1,000, and a substantial increase in points to help ensure a real impact on driver behaviour. We believe doubling the points to six for all drivers caught using a mobile phone at the wheel would be a much stronger deterrent and make our roads safer.

This is a valuable opportunity for the government to make a real and tangible difference to the safety of our roads and we would urge the DfT to carefully consider our arguments and look at strengthening Option 3 to include six penalty points and a fine of £500-1,000 for all drivers who commit this dangerous offence that has the potential to end lives. Every life saved prevents the immeasurable cost to families who lose loved ones, and saves society the financial cost of £1.84 million[xix].

CASE STUDY

Imogen Cauthery, from Crouch End in London, was just nine years old when she suffered devastating life changing injuries after being hit by a car in 1996. The driver, who was talking on a mobile phone at the time, didn't even stop to check if she was alive. Her life was only saved because a local doctor saw the crash from his window and rushed to provide CPR, but Imogen then remained in a coma for 10 days.

Imogen suffered long-term debilitating injuries including brain damage that affects her memory and her ability to achieve her ambitions. To this day she continues to experience epilepsy seizures caused by the crash, and almost died a second time because of the condition. The crash also deeply affected Imogen’s older sister, who witnessed it.

Imogen, now 28, has given her comments on the consultation to Brake.

“There is already so much evidence on the dangers of mobile phone use and the government is fully aware of stories like mine and many other people’s; something has to be done. The new penalties certainly aren’t tough enough. You have to give drivers more points or take their licences from them completely. There needs to be a bigger fine, as well, of at least a thousand pounds. I get so jealous of my friends now, who I went to primary school with. They are doctors or at university studying maths and I’ve got so many difficulties. I do exercise in the morning and then I volunteer and then I’m bored, bored, bored. I want so much more from my life that I cannot have because of my injuries. I have two lives, my first one from 1987-1996 and my second one from 1996 onwards. That’s how it is now until I die and I certainly want my first life back. But that can never happen because someone couldn’t wait to make a phone call.”

[i] Role of mobile phones in motor vehicle crashes resulting in hospital attendance: a case-crossover study, University of Western Australia, 2005
[ii] Association between cellular-telephone calls and motor vehicle collisions, Massachusetts Medical Society, 1997
[iii] Using a hands-free mobile whilst driving can be more dangerous than drink driving, Transport Research Laboratory, 2009
[iv] Stopping behaviour of drivers distracted by mobile phone conversations, Queensland University of Technology, 2013
[v] Mobile phone use: a growing problem of driver distraction, World Health Organisation, 2011
[vi] Using a hands-free mobile whilst driving can be more dangerous than drink driving, Transport Research Laboratory, 2009
[vii] Speaking on a hands-free phone while driving makes you less alert and less attentive, University of Toronto, 2013
[viii] Handheld cell phone laws and collision claim frequencies, Highway Loss Data Institute, 2010
[ix] Driven to distraction: mobile phones, Brake and Direct Line, 2014
[x] Using a hands-free mobile whilst driving can be more dangerous than drink driving, Transport Research Laboratory, 2009
[xi] The effect of text messaging on driver behaviour: a simulator study, Transport Research Laboratory, 2008
[xii] Driver Distraction in Commercial Motor Vehicle Operations, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 2009
[xiii] The Communications Market 2011, Ofcom, 2011
[xiv] Influence of personal mobile phone ringing and usual intention to answer on driver error, Aston University, 2012
[xv] http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DL-Risky-Business-2013-section-3.pdf
[xvi] http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport-DrivenToDistraction-sec2-MobilePhones-2014.pdf
[xvii] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/481877/british-social-attitudes-survey-2014.pdf
[xviii] http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Factsheets/UK/FS_Penalties_in_traffic.pdf
[xix] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ras60-average-value-of-preventing-road-accidents
table no RAS60001

Brake supports proposed penalty point increase for risky mobile phone use

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, has welcomed reports that the government is considering doubling penalty points for using a mobile phone while driving. The reports say the move has been recommended by Metropolitan Police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has asked his officials to look into the idea.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "This is a welcome proposal, and we hope the government will implement it. Brake has long campaigned for tougher penalties for mobile phone use at the wheel because of the suffering we see the bereaved and injured victims of road crashes put through as the result of such a senseless and unnecessary risk. An increase in penalty points is a step in the right direction, but it could provide a more effective deterrent if combined with an increase in the fixed penalty fine to £500-1,000, as well as heightened traffic enforcement, so risky law-breaking drivers know they will not get away with it.

"It is also vitally important the government doesn't ignore the danger of hands-free mobiles. Research shows using a phone hands-free is about as risky as picking up the phone while driving, so this should be included within the ban, and carry the same penalty. Our message to drivers is clear: switch your phone off, put it out of sight and reach, and remove the temptation to jeopardise someone's life for the sake of a call or text."

A recent survey by Brake and Direct Line showed almost half of drivers admit using a mobile phone while driving, with the use of hands-free a growing danger.

Brake campaigns to stamp out the danger of mobile phones and other distractions at the wheel through its Drive smart campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, #DriveSmart.

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, a Fleet Safety Forum, practitioner services, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake urges full review of road safety laws as cycling offence consultation is launched

News from Brake
Sunday, 12 August 2018
 
The Department for Transport has announced the launch of a consultation which will look at whether a new offence equivalent to causing death by careless or dangerous driving should be introduced for dangerous cyclists.
 
Commenting on the announcement, Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said:
“Whilst the intentions behind the Government’s announcement are sound, they are trying to fix a fundamentally flawed legal framework. A full review of road safety law is required and frankly long overdue. All too often families are denied justice, with drivers who kill let off with pitifully lenient sentences, and the public endangered through dangerous drivers evading driving bans. The Government must review all road safety law to protect the public and deliver justice for the families of those devastated by road death.”
 
The Department for Transport has also announced that it will look at updating parts of the Highway Code, including measures to counter the dangerous practice of ‘close passing’ and that it has commissioned the Cycle Proofing Working Group to develop national guidance and best practice for cycling and walking infrastructure, so that all road users can benefit from the best facilities.
 
Commenting on the announcement, Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said:
“Cycling is one of the healthiest, cheapest and most environmentally-friendly forms of transport available and yet cyclists’ vulnerability put many off getting on a bike. We welcome the move by the Government to address the danger of “close passing” but encourage them to go further to improve cycle safety. This year’s Road Safety Week theme is ‘Bike Smart’ and from 19-25 November we will be encouraging everyone to shout about the safety of those on two wheels – we hope the Government listens and acts to improve cyclist safety”
 
 [ENDS]
 
Notes to editors
  • Road Safety Week is the UK's biggest road safety event, coordinated annually by Brake, the road safety charity.
Road Safety Week aims to inspire thousands of schools, organisations and communities to take action on road safety and promote life-saving messages during the Week and beyond. It also provides a focal point for professionals working in road safety to boost awareness and engagement in their work. Road Safety Week website
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
 
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake warns of gridlock Britain

12 Nov 2015
Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

  • Motor vehicle traffic has increased, for the tenth quarter in succession
  • 2% increase in vehicle traffic
  • The provisional figure of 316.1 billion vehicle miles is the highest rolling annual total ever

The Department for Transport today (12 November 2015) released provisional statistics that show Britons are using more cars, van and lorries than ever before. Van traffic continued to rise faster than any other vehicle type, increasing by 6.0% to a new peak of 46.9 billion vehicle miles.

The report suggests that this rise is partly due to the growth in the economy as well as lower fuel prices. Traffic on motorways and rural roads was higher than it has ever been.

The figures should “give cause for alarm”, says Gary Rae, campaigns director for road safety charity, Brake:

He said: “These rises are not sustainable. We’re in our 20th year and in that time, we’ve seen an increase of 19% in all traffic. In a report published earlier this year, the Department for Transport forecast is for traffic growth of 19% to 55% between 2010 and 2040. Back in 2011, the RAC Foundation reported that the number of cars was set to increase by 43% by 2035 and traffic delays by 50%.”

“The figures are heading the wrong way and we’re heading for gridlock. The government needs to get a grip and outline what it intends to do. During Road Safety Week (23-29 November), we’ll be revealing the impact on our health and the environment of these ever rising figures.”

Notes to Editors

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

 

Brake welcomes government THINK! campaign highlighting dangers of country roads

Thursday 9 October 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity, is backing the Department for Transport's latest multimedia campaign launched today (9 October), which shows how country roads are deadlier than many of us think.

The campaign reveals that three in five fatalities (60%) occur on country roads, yet many drivers remain oblivious to the risks. In a survey for THINK!, the government's road safety campaigns unit, a worrying quarter of drivers (25%) admit to having had a near miss on a country road.

Brake, has been campaigning on road safety issues and supporting bereaved and injured crash victims for nearly 20 years. Brake's own survey, published this summer, revealed one in three drivers (33%) admit driving too fast for safety on country roads, by speeding, taking bends fast or overtaking. See more stats from the survey, and read Brake's.

In 2013, 895 people were killed on non-built up roads, up 1% on 2012, and 6,554 seriously injured [1].

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:"We welcome the focus the Department for Transport is giving to this vital issue. Both our campaigns highlight that too many drivers are not treating our country roads - and the people that use them and live near them - with respect. The so-called ‘open road' is a dangerous road, often full of unexpected hazards.We are urging drivers to slow down on country roads, staying well within limits and slowing right down for villages, bends, brows and bad weather. It's about being prepared for the unexpected, looking out for people on foot and bike, and respecting the countryside and other people's right to enjoy it."

Brake campaigns for slower speeds on country roads through its rural roads not racetracks campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #RuralRoadsnotRacetracks.

Notes for editors:

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties Great Britain: main results 2013, Department for Transport, 2014 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/324580/rrcgb-main-results-2013.pdf . Non-built up roads refers to those with speed limits over 40mph.

Brake writes to new Roads Minister

News from Brake
30 June 2017
news@brake.org.uk

Brake has today written to Jesse Norman MP, who has just been confirmed by the Department for Transport as the new Roads Minister. In the letter, the charity outlines some of the key road safety priorities as the UK government starts its new Parliamentary session.

Road casualty reduction

Reductions in the numbers injured or killed on British roads have stagnated; five people die and about 60 are seriously injured each day. This is wholly unacceptable. These devastating and costly casualties are preventable and, in line with the UN’s Decade of Action for Road Safety, we should strive towards a vision of zero road deaths and serious injuries. Urgent action is needed to achieve this vision.

Targets and a Road Collision Investigation Branch

We are also urging the government to set demanding targets for casualty reductions, particularly in light of a report out only last week revealing the UK is among EU countries making the slowest progress on reducing road deaths.

Alongside groups including the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, Brake is also calling for a UK Road Collision Investigation Branch. The Department for Transport already funds agencies to investigate rail, maritime and aviation disasters, but there is no equivalent agency in the UK tasked with investigating road deaths and injuries – despite the much higher numbers of casualties on our roads. Understanding and collating the details of individual road crashes, and the circumstances that led to them, is critical to learn lessons and cut future deaths and injuries.

Pace for People

We want to see a reduction in default speed limits where people live, from 30mph to 20mph. Brake is also calling for an urgent review of speed limits on all rural roads (except motorways), with speed limits set for safety and consideration of a lower default limit on single carriageway roads.

Lower limits should be accompanied by comprehensive speed enforcement by the police. There must be an expectation that, if we speed, we will get caught at some point on any given journey – not just where there is a known speeding problem, or there has been a cluster of casualties. In addition, voluntary 'Intelligent Speed Adaptation' – a technology that limits vehicles to the speed limit (unless the driver overrides it) – should be fitted by law to all new vehicles. This is currently under consideration for legislation by the EC as part of its review of vehicle safety regulations, and we are urging the government to support its full introduction in the UK (see below).

Place for People

People in the UK need more space to move in ways that are safe, green, healthy and fair. Since the invention of the car, space has been increasingly robbed for motorised vehicles, meaning many have been forced to the sidelines, facing danger, becoming casualties and breathing polluted air when trying to move around their communities and between places.

City and town planners must transform where we live into "liveable" space, putting people first and enabling the needs of people on foot and bicycles through segregated and prioritised space, and ensuring traffic speeds are reduced and public transport made accessible. Cycling is a fast-growing mode of transport but carries high risks on rural roads, particularly ones with high speeds. We would like to see a more comprehensive network of segregated routes for cyclists as part of the modernisation of our Strategic Road Network.

Further, there should be restrictions on the types of large vehicles allowed in our towns and cities. Trucks and buses must have good direct vision (where the driver is able to see more around their vehicle to enable them to see people on foot, bicycles and motorcycles) and indirect vision (mirrors and cameras).

Modern Vehicles

EU vehicle safety standards, which apply in the UK, were last updated in 2009 and significant advances in vehicle technology have taken place since then, making it prudent to raise the bar and implement further cost-effective, life-saving safety measures as standard.

The UK government should ensure its voice is heard in Europe, supporting the introduction of all 19 safety measures proposed by the EC, including 'Intelligent Speed Adaptation' – as outlined above. Other measures include mandatory Autonomous Emergency Braking technology to be fitted on all vehicles, as well as improved crash testing to help reduce the excessive number of deaths and injuries, particularly of people on foot and bicycles.

We would like the government to commit its full support for the introduction of all of these vital safety measures in the UK in the run up to Brexit and beyond.

Roads to Justice

We have long campaigned for better justice and support services for those bereaved and seriously injured by road crashes. Support for road-crash victims is a grossly under-funded area. When someone dies in a crash, it is devastating for their family. We need the government to invest more in specialist support, like our victim helpline, to offer prompt and comprehensive help to people when the worst has happened.

Victims are betrayed time and again by our justice system - that is why Brake is also calling for tougher charges and penalties that reflect the suffering caused, and more investment in road-traffic policing.

Driving for Zero

One in eight deaths on British roads involves a driver over the alcohol limit and, in 2015, arrests for drug driving soared after a new law was introduced enabling police to arrest people who tested positive to illegal and some legal drugs. Many more drivers are impaired by tiredness, poor vision and ill health.

Malta is the only EU country with a higher drink drive limit than the one in England and Wales. We want to see a lowering of the limit to an effective zero-tolerance level across the UK, and an extension, to Scotland and Northern Ireland, of laws prohibiting drug driving, as well as accreditation of testing devices that identify more drugs. To help save more lives, there must also be compulsory eyesight tests for drivers and rigorous enforcement of laws relating to impairment and distraction, including driving hours and mobile phone use.

Call for zero road deaths as casualty reduction stalls

news@brake.org.uk

29 September 2016

Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on the government to take action and reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries on our roads. In recent years it has become increasingly apparent that reductions in road casualties are beginning to stall. Brake is calling on the government to act now to prevent stagnation in the long-term.

The Department for Transport report published today confirms that outside of a few minor gains road casualty reductions have remained largely static; and while we welcome the slight drop in road deaths and serious injuries on our roads, more must be done to speed up the process of road casualty reduction.

Worryingly, vehicle traffic has risen by almost 2% in the last year, matched by a significant population increase of 15% over the past 30 years; meaning as well as the increased danger of crashes, we are seeing increased pollution [1]. Much of this increase is being attributed to light goods vehicles, many running on diesel, which of course we have now learned is much more damaging to the environment than previously claimed.

Lucy Amos, research advisor for Brake, said: “The report released by the Department for Transport reveals the danger of complacency and over-confidence. The UK currently has one of the best road safety records in the world, but this cannot be relied upon. No road death is acceptable and we must continue to work towards reducing death and injury on the roads without compromise.

This is why Brake is calling for the reintroduction of ambitious casualty reduction targets to act as a driving force for the fight against road death and injury at the national level; increased investment in road infrastructure to develop a safe and sustainable road network; and more resources assigned to road traffic police to ensure that legislation can be effectively enforced.”

Tweet us:@Brakecharity,

ENDS.

Notes to Editors:

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education,services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties Great Britain: Annual report 2015, Department for Transport, 2016

Charity warns of gridlock Britain

10 February 2017 
news@brake.org.uk

New provisional figures from the Department for Transport show that motor vehicle traffic has reached a record high.

In the year ending December 2016 car traffic increased by 0.7 per cent  to a record high of 249.5 billion vehicle miles and HGV traffic grew by 2.8 per cent overall to 17.1 billion vehicle miles.

The report suggests that this rise is partly due to the growth in the economy as well as lower fuel prices.

The figures should “give cause for alarm”, says Gary Rae, Brake’s campaigns director.

He said: “These rises are not sustainable. Provisional estimates suggest that both ‘A’ roads and motorways experienced the highest level of vehicle traffic recorded; motorway traffic increased by 2.1% to 67.9 billion vehicle miles in 2016, continuing a long-term trend of increasing motorway traffic over the past six years.

“The figures are heading the wrong way and we’re heading for gridlock. The government needs to get a grip and outline what it intends to do. Back in 2015, during Road Safety Week, we highlighted the lethal consequences of too many vehicles on our roads. The situation is becoming markedly worse”.

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors

  • Provisionally, 320.5 billion vehicle miles were travelled on Great Britain’s roads in the year ending December 2016, a figure 1.2% higher than 2015 and 2% higher than the pre-recession peak in the year ending September 2007.
  • Rolling annual motor vehicle traffic has now increased each quarter in succession for over three years.
  • The greatest increases were the number of LGV miles (3.4%) and HGV miles (2.8%) on our roads.
  • Car traffic increased by 0.6% to a record 249.5 billion vehicle miles.
  • Provisional estimates suggest that both A roads and motorways experienced the highest level of vehicle traffic recorded.
  • Provisionally, motorway traffic increased by 2.1% to 67.9 billion vehicle miles in 2016, continuing a long-term trend of increasing motorway traffic over the past six years.
  • Estimates suggest that A road traffic showed an increase of 2.0%, mainly on rural ‘A’ roads (increase of 2.5% to 93.6 billion vehicle miles), while traffic on urban ‘A’ roads increased by a smaller degree (up 1.1% to 50.2 billion vehicle miles).

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and has domestic operations in the UK and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Chris Skidmore, MP for Kingswood

ChrisSkidmoreMP

Chris Skidmore, MP for Kingswood, has been given a national road safety award by the charity Brake and Direct Line Group for campaigning in parliament to reform the law on dangerous driving.

Chris launched his campaign in response to the tragic deaths of two of his constituents, Ross and Clare Simons, at the hands of a dangerous driver in January 2013.

Ross and Clare were knocked off their tandem bike and left for dead by Nicholas Lovell, who was banned from driving at the time. He had 11 previous convictions for driving whilst disqualified.

Lovell was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. The judge, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, imposed a sentence of 10 years and six months, the maximum the charge would allow after Lovell had pleaded guilty, as well as a life-time driving ban. However, Lovell could be out of jail in as little as six years.

Ross and Clare's families were shocked that Lovell could be released so soon after killing their loved ones. After the trial, Chris told them he would do everything in his power to secure better justice for bereaved families. Together with Ross and Clare's families, he launched a campaign to ensure disqualified drivers who kill are given much stronger sentences.

As part of the campaign, Chris and the families handed in the 'Justice 4 Ross and Clare' petition to 10 Downing Street, with over 15,000 signatures from supporters all over the country.

On 27 January 2014, Chris secured a backbench debate on dangerous driving, which was strongly attended by MPs from all parties. The debate heard a range of MPs relay the harrowing and tragic cases of their own constituents who had been killed by reckless law-breaking drivers. They spoke of family anguish and the devastation that senseless road deaths wreak on communities.

Chris's debate illustrated the depth of all-party support for changes in the law. Other MPs called for removing the distinction between 'causing death by careless driving' and 'causing death by dangerous driving' to stop drivers who kill and injure being let off on a lesser charge with much lower penalties, as well as tougher sentences for repeat offenders and for drivers who kill or injure.

Chris hopes to secure another meeting with the Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, to get an update on the government's plans and intentions for possible future legislation. Chris is also hopeful that the Sentencing Council will review the points raised in the backbench debate.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "We are very glad that Chris has brought this vitally important issue to the fore. Every day on our roads risky, illegal drivers end lives senselessly, inflict terrible injuries, and cause devastation to families, friends and communities. Every MP who spoke in the dangerous driving debate had stories of tragedies in their constituency where victim families were left feeling betrayed by our justice system. It is critical that sentences for these crimes properly reflect the seriousness of the devastation they cause, to ensure justice for families and to deter risky, illegal driving."

Chris Skidmore, MP for Kingswood, said: "I'm extremely humbled to receive this award, but only wish that it didn't have to be in the tragic circumstances of Ross and Clare's deaths. Both families of the couple have worked so hard to ensure that we have raised the campaign for tougher sentences for serial dangerous drivers who are already disqualified from driving to a national level. We will be continuing the campaign to change the law on dangerous driving - as the debate in Parliament showed, this is something that MPs from all parties want to see happen, and now is the time for change."

Read about Brake's Crackdown campaign for tougher penalties for drivers who kill and injure.