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DfT rules out road safety targets

  Thursday, 28 January 2016

The Department for Transport (DfT) has ruled out re-introducing road casualty reduction targets, despite repeated requests from both the safety and fleet industries to do so.

The DfT has told Fleet News that local authorities are simply better placed to improve road safety, and can be more effective than a centralised body.

The government cut the road casualty reduction target in 2010.  The targets had originally been introduced in 1987 to help reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries occurring on UK roads.

There remains a strong consensus within the road safety industry that annual targets can continue to play a strong role in helping to reduce both.

A DfT spokesman said:

“Britain continues to have some of the safest roads in the world, but every death is a tragedy and we are determined to do more.

“We are making sure that we have the right legal, education, and investment frameworks in place to make our roads safer. We have already introduced new laws, given the police tougher powers to tackle dangerous driving and are investing billions to improve the conditions of our road network.

“Local authorities are best placed to decide how to use these frameworks to make their roads safer, rather than having centralised national targets.”

Richard Owen, the road safety analysis operations director, claimed that the current government is against using targets in order to dictate policy.

“An example of this is hospital waiting times.  This was forcing hospitals to meet numbers and it was having a negative impact on patient care.

“The view from the road safety community however, is that targets do make a difference. 

“There is a wider EU target to reduce road fatalities by 50% by 2020, but a lack of clear UK targets takes away focus and sends a message that road safety is not a priority.”

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