Reducing death and life-changing injuries on our roads
Proposed measures to improve road safety
The Department for Transport (‘DfT’) last week published the provisional 2018 road casualty data for Great Britain. This showed that:
- 1,782 people died in road collisions – a 1% decline on the previous year – continuing the “plateau” in road deaths in Great Britain since 2010
- 25,484 seriously injured casualties were reported.
- 133,112 slightly injured casualties reported (adjusted figures from the National Audit Office show a continuation in the downward trend since 2014)
- 160,378 casualties of all severities (6% lower than in 2017 and the lowest level on record).
Earlier this month, the DfT published a package of measures to reduce the number of people killed and injured on roads in the UK. The plan is to improve safety for all, from children in car seats to those with years of driving experience. The package of 74 measures includes increased penalties for failing to wear a seatbelt, a training programme on how to correctly fit baby and child seats and funding for research into how best to reduce drink driving.
Measures proposed to improve safety for children include:
- A £225,000 grant to Good Egg Safety (an initiative which promotes in-car child safety) to deliver a safety training programme for retailers to help parents fit child and baby seats correctly (70% of parents say they do not know how to properly install seats)
- research into whether mobile phone use among young pedestrians leads to an increased number of road collisions
- research into road safety support to help children aged 7 to 18 with special educational needs and cognitive disabilities understand the dangers near roads.
Measures aimed at young adults include:
- the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is developing a behavioural change campaign, aimed at encouraging learner drivers to broaden their experience prior to taking their test, such as driving on rural roads and driving at night
- research into the benefits of Graduated Driving Licencing on road safety
- THINK! will continue to run campaigns reinforcing road safety messages, focusing on drink driving, using mobile phones while driving, speeding and passenger distractions.
Measures directed at adults include:
- Investigations into whether alcolocks – devices which measure the alcohol in a driver’s breath and stop a vehicle from starting if the level of alcohol is too high – can reduce re offending rates among drink drivers as part of a rehabilitation programme
- A grant of £50,000 to the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety to review drink driving trends and interventions
- A greater focus on road policing with a two year project with the Home Office and National Police Chiefs’ Council to identify best practice and gaps in services.
Measures aimed at older drivers include:
A grant of £50,000 to RoadSafe (a charitable partnership which brings together private sector with government and road safety professionals) to deliver a digital platform to share best practice to reduce risks for older road users.
Lee Hart, Partner and Head of the Serious Injury team at Clarke Willmott welcomes any measures that improve vehicle safety and reduce deaths and life-changing injuries on our roads:
“Far too many people continue to put their lives at risk by not wearing a seatbelt or driving whilst using a mobile phone, despite the known dangers. According to Government statistics, 27% of car deaths in 2017 involved people who were not wearing a seatbelt. Under the new plan, a failure to wear a seatbelt could result in penalty points as well as a fine. Currently, offenders can be given a £100 on-the-spot fine and it remains to be seen whether increased penalties will alter people’s behaviour.
Acting for seriously injured clients and their families, I have seen at first hand the devastation caused on our roads. Even if you are injured and you were not wearing a seatbelt, you may still have a valid claim for compensation with some reduction for being unrestrained, but of course given the potential life changing consequences of serious injury, the government’s campaign to increase seatbelt use has to be welcomed.”
If you or a family member have been injured in a road traffic accident, please contact our team of specialist lawyers on 0800 316 8892 who will able to advise you on the merits of bringing a claim for compensation, treatment and rehabilitation.