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Road Casualty Reduction Targets Ruled Out

The Department of Transport has ruled out the reintroduction of road casualty reduction targets despite pressure from a number of road safety groups.

Road charities and the fleet industry have called for such targets to be set. However, the Department of Transport stated that local authorities were better placed to improve road safety, rather than a centralised national target.

It has been five years since a centralised target was in place with the DoT opting to remove such a target in 2010. The targets were first introduced in 1987 in an attempt to reduce the number of deaths on the road, as well as cut down on the number of accidents and serious injuries.

Calls for Reintroduction of Road Safety Targets

Although the road traffic targets were abolished, many believe that the principles they helped impose were a significant reason for the reduction of road traffic accidents in the UK. There has been a 4% increase in road deaths in the last year according to the DfT’s Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain Annual Report 2014.

Road safety groups and many road users bodies insisted that the government should reconsider their decision not to have a centralised, national target. Richard Owen, Road Safety Analysis operations director, said: “There is a wider EU target to reduce road fatalities by 50% by 2020, but a lack of clear UK targets takes away focus and sends a message that road safety is not a priority.”

Despite the criticism a DfT spokesman said: “Britain continues to have some of the safest roads in the world, but every death is a tragedy and we are determined to do more.

“We are making sure that we have the right legal, education, and investment frameworks in place to make our roads safer. We have already introduced new laws, given the police tougher powers to tackle dangerous driving and are investing billions to improve the conditions of our road network.

“Local authorities are best placed to decide how to use these frameworks to make their roads safer, rather than having centralised national targets.”

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