West Yorkshire road safety charity wants action over road casualties

Road Safety Minister Andrew Jones & Brake deputy CEO Julie Townsend.
Road Safety Minister Andrew Jones & Brake deputy CEO Julie Townsend.
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A road safety charity has challenged the government to work towards zero road deaths.

Brake made the call following the first annual increase in road casualties of all severities in 17 years.

Road casualties in Great Britain rose by six percent from 2013. The number of people killed increased by four per cent.

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Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend told a parliamentary reception last week: “After years of progress in bringing down casualties, figures for 2014 have revealed the first annual increase for 17 years.

“Every death and injury is devastating, as Brake knows well from supporting bereaved and injured victims, and every one is preventable.

“People on foot and bike – those travelling via the healthiest, least polluting and harmful means – have borne the brunt of the recent increase in casualties.

“In fact, if you travel by foot or bike in the UK you are far more likely to be killed or injured than in many of our European neighbours.”

She told MPs the government should reinstate ambitious casualty reduction targets, with the ultimate goal of zero road deaths and serious injuries.

Brake, as well as releasing a report with partners Direct Line about motorists’ attitudes to issues like drink-driving, also set out policies to help make its vision a reality.

The Brake official added: “Global research and experience shows that measures like graduated driver licensing, 20mph limits and a lower drink drive limit are effective in preventing loss of life, and making our streets and communities safer places.

“We are appealing to the government to respond to the rise in casualties and seize the opportunity of preparing a new road safety strategy, making clear that ultimately, we should be moving towards zero road deaths and injuries and ensuring everyone can get around without fear or threat.”

THE PROPOSALS

An effective zero-tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood. The current limit is 80mg.

Increased penalties for mobile phone use and speeding, to pose a stronger deterrent against driving distracted, impaired or dangerously.

A system of graduated driver licensing, to allow new drivers to learn in a safer and more structured environment and help tackle young driver crashes.

A default urban speed limit of 20mph, to cut casualties among the most vulnerable road users and allow people to walk and cycle in their communities without fear.

Chris Hearld at KPMG

Winds of change bring work to KPMG in Yorkshire