Bath School of Motoring and Lanham's Driving School Ltd

Successfully teaching to drive in Bath & surrounding areas for over 45 years

Rospa responds to Road safety statement

Written by: Bath School of Motoring

18/02/2016

The British Road Safety Statement, published in late December last year, outlines the Government's road safety plans and priorities for this Parliament, and how it intends to deliver its manifesto commitment "to reduce the number of cyclists and other road users killed or injured on our roads every year."

The Statement contains many positive measures, but also some disappointments. 

One of the priorities will be to ensure learner drivers take sufficient professional lessons and private practice in a wide range of driving situations before they take their driving test.  This will not only mean they are more likely to pass their test first time but will also reduce their crash risk as new drivers after their test.  A major research project into driver education, training and behaviour-change interventions for learner and novice drivers is already underway, and there will be a consultation on proposals to allow learner drivers to take lessons on motorways with an approved driving instructor in a dual controlled car.

Unfortunately there are no plans to introduce graduated driver licensing leglislation, despite the evidence that this is proving effective in other countries.  Instead, the Government intends to pursue "modern and sophisticated non-legislative alternatives that treat each young driver as an individual with their own distinct risk profile."  This will include more and better use of telematics as well as measures which follow the research programme mentioned above.

Another issue highlighted in the Statement is the continued danger to all road users caused by drivers distracting themselves by using mobile phones while they drive.  The Government proposes to increase the penalties for using a hand held mobile phone while driving to four penalty points and a £150 fine (it is currently three points and a £100 fine).  The penalty for drivers of larger vehicles, such as HGV's will increase to six points and £150.  While RoSPA supports this proposal, it is unlikely to be effective without adequate levels of enforcement.

Continuing with the enforcement theme, police forces in England and Wales will share a £750,000 grant to fund more officers with drug recognition and impairment testing skills to enable more effective and targeted enforcement.  This will help to ensure the new drug-drive laws introduced last year.

Another clear theme is the need to take advantage of the rapid advances in vehicle technology as quickly as possible, and to  MEASURES TO IMPROVE MOTORCYCLIST SAFETY WILL INCLUDE THE STRENGTHENING OF COMPULSORY BASIC TRAINING raise consumer awareness ans fleet vehicle managers of the safety benefits of choosing vehicles with advanced collision avoidance technology and 5 star EURO NCAP ratings.

Measures to improve motorcyclist safety will include the strengthening of Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) for learners.  There will be further consultations on a range of proposals to support safer motorcycling.

Cyclists will benefit from a grant of £50 million over the next four years to support Bikeability cycle training in schools.  This will help to increase children's road awareness and encourage them to be healthy and active.  The DfT has also published plans for its first Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy for England, on which there will be a consultation in the spring.

Unfortunately there are no targets or indicators for reducing deaths and injuries on our roads, and no indication to lower the drink-drive limit in England and Wales, to match the limit in Scotland.  At a local level, the DfT say that local authorities are best placed to decide the safety measures and their spending priorities in their areas, based on their own assessment of needs.

The British Road Safety Statement covers road safety policy within Britain that is governed by the Deaprtment for Transport, but it recognises that road safety is an increasingly devolved matter.  The governments and administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will seek to produce their own polocies and strategic documents on devolved matters.

The "British Road Safety Statement: Working Together to Buil a Safer Road System"can be downloaded from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/road-safety-statement-working-together-to-build-a-safer-road-system