Charity criticises government’s lack of ambition in cutting road casualties as MPs publish Future of Motoring report

Friday 6 March 2015

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

Brake, the road safety charity, has welcomed the transport select committee’s Future of Motoring report published today (6 March). The report calls on the government to set out a comprehensive strategy that sets out first and foremost how it will ‘reduce or eliminate fatalities and serious injuries on the roads’ and cut vehicle emissions.

Brake, now in its 20th year, submitted evidence to the committee. It agrees with several of the committee’s conclusions and recommendations, including the need to develop a coherent strategy with the key objectives of preventing road casualties and reducing emissions. Brake advocates a ‘vision zero’ approach, with a long-term vision of zero road deaths and serious injuries, and challenging targets to aid progress towards this. Brake welcomes the report’s emphasis on the government’sresponsibility to ensure that the most beneficial safety measures are introduced to the [UK] vehicle fleet, as widely and quickly as possible’.

Recently published road casualty data showed a 4% rise in deaths and serious injuries compared to the previous year. Read Brake’s reaction and calls for action.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “Any strategy for motoring must include or be tied to a clear strategy for road safety, and on this the government is failing to provide a robust and ambitious strategy or vision. Brake believes clear leadership must be provided by central government for road safety policy and delivery. We need to see challenging targets re-introduced for tackling road casualties, forward-thinking policies, and a long-term vision of zero road deaths and serious injuries, given that every one is devastating and needless. The government needs to invest more in public transport and safe walking and cycling, and introduce a 20mph urban default speed limit, to make sustainable and active travel an attractive alternative.”

The report focuses heavily on the rapidly developing technology of ‘driverless vehicles’. Brake believes that, subject to rigorous testing, such technology will become commonplace in vehicles before 2040, and will play a key role in reducing casualties caused by human error as well as improving public transport and reducing emissions. Julie Townsend serves on the advisory group for one of the driverless vehicle trials, in Greenwich. She added: “Driverless vehicles could transform the way we use roads, helping to ensure everyone can get around through safe, sustainable and affordable means, and making our communities more pleasant and sociable places.”

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 Twitter or Facebook. Follow Julie Townsend on Twitter.

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.