Fleet News

RoSPA congress to look at road safety in time of spending cuts

The event, taking place in February, will be the charity’s 76th annual gathering for road safety researchers, practitioners and policymakers. The programme is currently being developed and RoSPA has issued a call for papers, including case studies, from the UK and overseas.

Potential speakers are invited to outline presentations that focus on the future of road safety in the new economic climate. Suggested topics include: strategies for maximising cost-benefit and efficiency; how road safety is delivered in countries with lower public spending; the importance of interventions that are informed by evidence; the need for robust evaluation; the role of employers in managing occupational road risk when resources are limited; and, the value of community involvement in road safety, plus barriers to it. RoSPA is also seeking views on whether there really has been a “war on motorists” and, to this end, invites papers on driver behaviour.

Duncan Vernon, RoSPA’s road safety manager for England, said: “Reductions in road safety budgets are already being experienced by local authorities and further cuts are expected next year. Difficult decisions about which important road safety activities to reduce are being faced across the country. In some areas, cut-backs to speed cameras are being considered or there is a question mark over continuing with local safety camera partnerships at all.

“The UK has been very successful at reducing road casualties over the last two decades, partly because our policies and interventions have been delivered in the context of comprehensive and evidence-led strategies. This has helped in the targeting of road safety funding.

“However, the next 10-year road safety strategy, which we hope will be unveiled by the Government later this year, will have to be delivered in a very different economic climate with much reduced public spending. The phrase “more for less” will echo through many spheres of public sector activity, and we cannot expect road safety to remain exempt from this efficiency drive.

“However, acting on road safety remains a statutory duty for local authorities and the challenge is therefore to identify new approaches, new thinking and new partners to ensure further casualty reductions are achieved.”

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