Transport Committee: Press Notice

Session 2008-09, 27 April 2009

Publication of Special Report


Publication of Special Report

Special Report: Government's further response to road safety report

The Transport Select Committee has today published, as a special report, the Government's full response to its 2008 report Ending the Scandal of Complacency: Road Safety beyond 2010¹. Several of the key recommendations made in that report now feature strongly among the proposals made by the Government in its new road safety strategy consultation (A Safer Way: Consultation on making Britain's roads the safest in the world).

Committee Chairman Louise Ellman says, "3,000 people die every year on our roads, including far too many young people. It is good to see the Government acknowledge the 'massive social and economic costs' of this major public health challenge."

"The Government proposes to restore Britain's position as a world leader in road safety. The Committee has made clear that this must take full account of economic, health and environmental objectives and that success will depend on the extent to which road safety becomes a priority for the whole Government, and not merely a goal for Department for Transport. Strong leadership and co-ordinated involvement from the Home Office, the DoH, BERR and the Cabinet Office will be vital to ensure effective action."

In line with the Committee's recommendations the Government has pledged to place higher priority on the safety of children and young people in deprived areas as well as motorcyclists. Likewise, the Government has accepted a Committee suggestion to shift towards a 'systems' approach to road safety, where vehicles, roads and traffic regulations are all designed to common standards so that inevitable road user errors do not result in death. This means more 20mph limits in towns and greater safety on rural roads.

Over the last decade deaths have declined far less than serious injuries and the Committee has expressed concern about the reliability of accident statistics. The Government has accepted the Committee's recommendation to set a challenging new target for reducing deaths that is separate from a target for serious injuries. It has also accepted the need for greater independent advice and scrutiny, proposing an independent expert panel.

The Government has not accepted the Committee's recommendations on several matters including:

  • the need for drivers to have at least one year's experience before obtaining a full licence;
  • restrictions on novice drivers carrying teenage passengers at night;
  • the case for lowering the blood-alcohol limit for novice drivers; and
  • the need to set targets for the percentage of primary school children given pedestrian and cycle training.

The Committee has previously expressed concern that improving driver training² will not be enough to stem the tragic loss of so many young lives.

Notes

The Committee published its report Ending the Scandal of Complacency: Road Safety beyond 2010 on 29 October 2008. The Government provided an interim response to three Committee recommendations (4, 22 and 23) in January 2009 and these were published as a Special Report on 19 January 2009. The Committee agreed to accept an interim response with a further comprehensive response to coincide with the publication of the new road safety strategy consultation (A Safer Way: Consultation on making Britain's roads the safest in the world). The further response is published as the Transport Committee's Third Special Report of session 2008-09, 27 April 2009.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

1. Committee Membership is as follows: Mrs Louise Ellman (Chairman) (Liverpool Riverside), Mr David Clelland (Tyne Bridge), Mr Philip Hollobone (Kettering), Mr John Leech (Manchester Withington), Mr Eric Martlew (Carlisle), Mr Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin), Ms Angela C Smith (Sheffield, Hillsborough), Sir Peter Soulsby (Leicester South), Mr Graham Stringer (Manchester Blackley), Mr David Wilshire (Spelthorne), Sammy Wilson (East Antrim).

2. Transcripts of evidence sessions for the Committee's inquiries can be found on the Committee website at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmtran.htm

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¹ House of Commons Transport Committee, Second Special Report of Session 2008-09. Ending the Scandal of Complacency: Road Safety beyond 2010. Further Government Response to the Committee's Eleventh Report of Session 2007-08. HC 422, 27 April 2009

² Driving Standards Agency Learning to Drive. Report on Consultation. 21 April 2009