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Call for road safety improvements

09 June 2024

THE UK has passed a grim and shaming mileston - some 500,000 people have died on the roads in Great Britain since records began in 1926.

During the same period, in context, there have been about 375,000 UK citizen deaths due to warfare since 1926 – a period that includes the Second World War, among many other conflicts.

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has coordinated a groundbreaking manifesto calling for immediate and strategic action to address the persistent issue of road fatalities and serious injuries in the UK. With support, now from more than 60 leading organisations and growing by the day, the manifesto outlines four strategic priorities aimed at revolutionising road safety and significantly reducing fatalities and serious injuries on UK roads.

These are:

1. Developing a National Road Safety Strategy - Implement a Safe System Strategy focused on prevention, protection, and post-collision response, coupled with evidence-based targets and robust safety performance indicators.

2. Establishing a Road Safety Investigation Branch - An independent body modelled after existing transportation safety branches to analyse road incidents and provide actionable insights for preventing future tragedies.

3. Introducing Graduated Driver Licensing - A progressive licensing system to support young drivers by limiting high-risk driving situations, a measure proven to reduce fatalities by up to 40%.

4. Adopting Advanced Vehicle Safety Regulations - Immediate implementation of the world-leading vehicle safety standards, mandating critical technologies such as Automatic Emergency Braking and Intelligent Speed Assistance.

The UK has seen a stagnation in road safety improvements since 2010, from being a global leader in road safety, it is now lagging behind other nations. Every day, five people die on UK roads, with more than 30,000 individuals killed or seriously injured annually, amounting to a staggering societal and economic cost of approximately £43.5 billion each year.

Jamie Hassall, executive director of PACTS said, “These four simple measures will be the building blocks to enable the UK to reduce the number of people who are killed and seriously injured on our roads. When we have strong leadership and a strategic approach the UK has managed to half the numbers of road deaths in a decade but since 2010 the focus was lost and daily road deaths have remained at five.  Investing in road safety is not just a moral duty but it’s good for people’s health and wellbeing, the environment, business, and the country.

“Having hit this grim milestone of half a million road deaths in Great Britain today, we’re calling for action on these simple, quick wins. They are unanimously agreed across the UK’s leading road safety authorities to be top priorities with the potential to save hundreds of lives and prevent thousands of life-altering injuries over the next few years and put the UK on track to be a world leader again.”

PACTS urges the incoming government to prioritise these strategies within the first 100 days of office to ensure the UK meets international road safety targets and sets a global standard in protecting its citizens.