posted 3 weeks ago

Road Safety Charity Calls For Government To Work Holistically

Safety charity report reveals the financial cost of traffic incidents, vulnerable groups and its recommendations.

IAM RoadSmart report

The Government should implement a cross-departmental approach to road safety to minimise causalities and its short/long term financial commitments, IAM RoadSmart argued. The road safety charity's report – Evaluating The Costs of Incidents From The Public Sector Perspective – emphasised that the cost of traffic collisions is felt across Government rather than a sole department.

The Department for Transport, Department for Work and Pensions, Home Office, Ministry of Justice and The Department of Health are amongst those that feel the financial strain, IAM RoadSmart concluded. The Department of Work and Pensions pays benefits to people which cannot earn a wage due to their injuries, for example.

Despite the widespread impact, “road safety, as an end in itself, is not regularly cited as a public policy priority”, the charity concluded. Its report, therefore, explored how safety impacts upon issues known to be priorities such as: “the economy, health and social care costs, and avoiding life-changing injuries and deaths.”

Vulnerable groups

The IAM RoadSmart report paid particular attention to vulnerable road users. Highlighted groups were: 

  • younger drivers (under 24 years old),
  • motorcyclists,
  • those that drive for work,
  • older drivers (over 70 years).

Consider motorcyclists, for example. The total overall cost of casualties is £1.1 billion per annum. This incorporates £219 million for welfare payments, £162 million for National Health Service and Police costs and £700 million for lost economic output.

Huge potential savings

Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart Chief Executive, said: “These are a huge saving. Against a background of austerity and public spending cuts, this report shows what could be achieved by reducing the numbers of deaths and serious injuries suffered by these at-risk road users.”

“When it comes to road safety The Department for Transport tends to be seen as the main provider of solutions, but the costs of these tragic incidents are felt right across Government.” She added: “More cross-departmental working, pooling of resources and sharing of knowledge is key to ensuring joined up thinking on road safety.”

Recommendations

The report incorporated a vast range of recommendations to improve road safety; particularly amongst the most vulnerable groups. 

  • Young Drivers: Consider a graduated licence that prevents youngsters – from the moment they pass the practical test – travelling with their peers who might prove distracting.
  • Motorcyclists: Design roads to ensure motorcyclists are visible. There should be crash protection features for riders, too.
  • Driving for work: Encourage businesses to adopt risk management tools and facilitate a cultural and management structure that promotes higher, on road, standards.
  • Older Drivers: Provide appraisal and refresher training that includes how to manage health issues, eyesight and new technology.