The Transport Select Committee has blamed the Government's lack of leadership on road safety for the rise in fatalities in 2011. But the drop in road deaths in 2010 was the sharpest fall for many years and was most likely caused by months of severe winter weather at both ends of the year, leading to reduced traffic flows and drivers taking extra care. After such a drop, the 2011 figure was almost guaranteed to be higher.
In reality, falls in road deaths in recent years have been largely despite, rather than because of, Government and local authority road safety policies.
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory explains: "Despite much furore over switching off cameras and cutting funding for 20mph zones, it is obvious from the recent statistics that areas that have switched off or not installed cameras such as Avon and Somerset, Swindon and Durham have actually achieved very good results, while areas such as Portsmouth, which spent much of their budget on 20mph limits, had the worst casualty increases in the country. The ABD demands a thorough appraisal of the effectiveness of all road safety measures. Giving power to local councils is all very well in theory but all too often they lack expertise and are keen on what they see as vote winning measures that appease local residents and pressure groups, rather than truly effective measures that save lives."