An advisory body for road safety, independent of government, needs to be created to bring road safety procedures in line with those applied to public transport.
That’s just one of the recommendations of a new report on UK transport safety. The report also calls for improved arrangements for accident investigation and stronger leadership from central government.
The report, titled UK Transport Safety: who is responsible?, is published by the Transport Safety Commission and calls for:
- recognition by the Health and Safety Executive and employers that work-related road casualties are their responsibility;
- the setting of ambitious road casualty reduction targets by the government;
- improved arrangements for accident investigation separating learning from prosecution;
- the creation of an advisory body for road safety independent of government;
- restored resources for road safety to recent historical levels to fund additional measures which would provide good value for money;
- stronger leadership from central government and more coordinated action across government departments;
- the adoption of a ‘systems’ approach to casualty reduction;
- better treatment for the victims of road traffic crimes;
- and improving actual safety and the perception of risk of active travel (walking and cycling).
The report notes that after several years of steady decline there was a rise in road casualties in 2014, which shows casualty reduction cannot be taken for granted.
The Transport Safety Commission was established in autumn 2013 and the report is the result of the Commission’s first inquiry, co-chaired by Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, and Sir Peter Bottomley MP.
Professor Glaister said, “Around 30 per cent of road deaths occur during the course of employment and greatly exceed those occurring in the workplace, yet the Health and Safety Executive’s priorities do not include work-related road safety.
“All our recommendations refer to road rather than aviation and rail safety. This is a sad indictment of a continued collective failure to tackle an appalling situation that somehow is seen as acceptable by those in authority.
“We effectively have double standards when it comes to investigating deaths amongst the travelling public. No expense is spared when it comes to establishing the cause of harm on public transport and there is a well proven system for recommending improvement as a result of findings. Compare that with what happens on the roads. Perhaps there is a feeling that road users are in charge of their own destiny and hence their lives are not as important. Yet many casualties are innocent parties and we should be protecting them as carefully as anyone who pays a rail or air fare.”
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