Road safety targets were introduced in 1987, and proved to be a successful tool to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on UK roads each year. They were also a useful yardstick for judging progress. The Government announced the abolition of these annual targets in 2010, but there remains a strong consensus within the road safety community that targets can continue to play a key role in reducing deaths and serious injuries. The Manifesto calls for them to be reintroduced.
What is your view on reintroducing government road safety targets?
Conservatives: Overarching national targets don’t do anything to persuade people of the importance of road safety, and can constrain local ambitions and priorities.
We have moved to a more sophisticated method of monitoring processes through a Road Safety Outcomes Framework. We don’t need an arbitrary number to prove our commitment to saving lives.
Labour: Safety is a key concern in transport. Labour will prevent a ‘race to the bottom’ in workplace safety, through proper enforcement of driving, working and duty hours, including investigating the abuse of Working Time Regulations.
Labour has committed to restore targets to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads. In Government, Labour set proposed targets for casualty and fatality reduction until 2020. Our targets had either been met or on target to be met when Labour left office. There are now almost 17,000 fewer deaths or serious injuries in a year than there were in the mid-1990s.
But since road safety targets were axed by the Tories in 2012, progress on reducing deaths and serious injuries has slowed, and three consecutive quarters of worsening figures in 2014 have alarmed road safety experts, campaigners and the police. Labour is committed to restoring road safety as a priority again.
Liberal Democrats: We need to constantly review how we can better protect everyone who uses our busy roads and pavements.
Liberal Democrat councillors have been at the forefront of successful campaigns to make many of our residential streets 20mph zones. On top of this, we have also introduced Trixi mirrors at some busy junctions so that drivers of HGVs can more easily spot cyclists.
FleetNews view: Road safety experts and charities will not be pleased by the Tory response, while the Lib Dems are not much better. Only Labour is promising to reintroduce targets. A vital measurement of progress and a statement of intention, targets also result in accountability and enable the best use of resources.