Science fact, not fiction: Brake, the road safety charity, welcomes ‘driverless’ vehicles trial as an important step for road safety

Thursday 4 December 2014

Brake, the road safety charity 

The government has announced £10 million of funding is being awarded to four trials of driverless vehicles, to see how they work in everyday life and establish the scope for making travel safer and more sustainable.

A Transport Research Laboratory (TRL)-led consortium has won part of the funding to pilot these futuristic vehicles in Greenwich through the GATEway project. Brake's deputy chief executive, Julie Townsend, is to serve on the (TRL) advisory group, chaired by Lord Borwick, which will guide the project. She's optimistic that this work could eventually lead to significantly reduced casualties on our roads.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said: "The vast majority of road crashes are caused by driver error. It follows that the development of this technology could play a major part in tackling the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that occur daily on UK roads, every one of which inflicts appalling suffering. In fact, these trials could lead to a seismic shift in how we use roads, helping to bring about far safer and greener streets and communities. By serving on the TRL-led advisory group I'll be ensuring that road safety and sustainable travel are kept at the forefront of the trial."

The TRL project will take placed in Greenwich. Other trials will happen in Milton Keynes and Coventry (as one project), and Bristol. The trials will last between 18 and 36 months.

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.

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.

Notes to editors:
Government news release: 

TRL news release: 

Tags: driverless