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Government Challenged to Work towards Zero Road Deaths

Road safety charity Brake has recently set out its vision for a future free of the needless trauma of road death and injury.

Following the first annual increase in road casualties of all severities in 17 years, Brake says that the time has come for the Government to make a statement of intent by reinstating ambitious casualty reduction targets – with the ultimate goal of reducing deaths and serious injuries on UK roads to zero.

Brake and campaign partners Direct Line Insurance have released a report examining UK drivers’ reported attitudes and behaviour in a number of key areas over the past decade, and making recommendations for improvement. Findings include:

  • The proportion admitting drink driving has fallen, although a sizeable minority of a third (32%) still admitted driving after drinking any amount of alcohol in 2013, compared with more than half (51%) in 2003.
  • The overall proportion of drivers saying they use mobiles at the wheel has fallen slightly, with less than half (45%) admitting doing this in 2013, compared with 54% in 2006. However, most drivers who used to use hand-held phones at the wheel appear to have switched to using hands-free phones, which is just as dangerous. Texting has remained a constant issue, and use of internet and apps is an emerging threat to safety.
  • It’s become less common for drivers to admit speeding overall, but it remains a widespread threat. In 2015, more than half of drivers (57%) admitted speeding, an improvement on 88% in 2004. However, drivers are continuing to admit speeding on urban roads at similar levels, risking the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Young drivers have been consistently shown to be more likely to take a range of risks, including speeding and mobile phone use. However surveys have also shown widespread support among drivers for a new ‘graduated driver licensing’ system to improve the safety of new drivers, with 84% in favour of a minimum leaner period.

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

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