Transport bosses unveil safety strategy

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Tougher penalties for motorists using mobile phones while driving and support to enforce the new drug driving law are among measures proposed in the government’s new road safety strategy.

The Road Safety Statement, announced by the Department for Transport in December, outlines the future strategy for safety on UK roads.

It includes plans to raise the penalty for using a mobile while driving - currently three points and a £100 fine - to four points and a £150 fine.

It also proposes improvements to driver learning and testing and more protection for ‘vulnerable’ road users.

Road safety charity Brake has welcomed the strategy, but said it should include stronger measures to cut the number of road casualties.

Alice Bailey, campaigns officer at Brake, said: “We’re disappointed that the government has failed to include casualty reduction targets, an ambitious vision, or more decisive action on issues like young driver safety, pedestrian safety or drink driving, all of which remain desperately important.

“We know from our work supporting devastated road crash victims that every death and injury sends out shock waves of pain and suffering.

“There is some important recognition in this statement of what good practice in road safety looks like, and the fact that road safety is an issue central to public health and sustainability – and that by improving road safety we can make economic gains too.

Brake says the statement should include “zero” casualties targets to reduce the number of people killed or injured on the road, which rose last year for the first time since 1997.

Other authorities, including Sweden and Scotland, have already adopted a target of zero road casualties, the charity added.

For more on the government statement visit www.gov.uk

WHAT THE STRATEGY PROPOSES

The government has recently published the Road Safety Statement - it’s new strategy for safety on the roads.

The new Department for Transport strategy proposes:

Tougher penalties on people caught using mobile phones behind the wheel.

The current penalty of £100 and three points would increase to four points and a £150 fine under the proposals.

New provision to support enforcement of the new drug driving law.

Plans to make improvements to driver learning and testing.

Increased emphasis on protecting “vulnerable road users”

Mitchell Kezin with veteran film director John Waters. Picture: Jeff Henschel

Film interview – Mitchell Kezin on his film Jingle Bell Rocks! which screens in Leeds