19 October 2007
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety
(PACTS) is an associate Parliamentary group and registered charity, advising and informing MPs and Peers on road, rail and air safety issues. The group has just published a report, Beyond 2010: a holistic approach to road safety in Great Britain
, which aims to identify areas where action is needed on road safety. A key recommendation is that a roads death investigation unit should be created in an attempt to further reduce the death rates on British roads and improve road safety.
Road travel is the only sector of transport that does not have its own national team of crash investigators. It is the responsibility of the police to investigate the cause of fatal incidents and road safety is not always the first consideration when investigations are carried out as the police are primarily concerned with finding the culprit involved.
The report recommends that the unit should be set up by the Health & Safety Executive
to monitor the 1,000 deaths each year and that it would have the power to recommend the prosecution of companies that failed to ensure the safety of employees when driving, for example, by encouraging them to drive when tired. Other suggestions in the report are the introduction of a default 20mph speed limit in built-up areas and greater use of speed cameras.
Penny Knight, head of the cycling and sports injuries team, is very familiar with the consequences of poor driving and is regularly instructed by families whose relatives have died or been seriously injured following road traffic accidents involving, in particular, left-turning lorries. She says:
The new EU regulations requiring that all new lorries should have wide vision mirrors does not come into force until 2009. This will still leave an unacceptable percentage of lorries on the roads which are not required to comply the regulations and where the mirrors are insufficient. It also does not overcome the problem of the driver not actually using the mirrors the vehicle does have. As the building boom continues across the country, and particularly with the Olympic development in London, the danger to cyclists and pedestrians caused by commercial vehicles has to be properly monitored and addressed. These drivers must be properly trained to be alert to other more vulnerable road users.
For more information please contact Penny Knight
on 020 7650 1315.
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