MPs call for more 20mph speed limitsCommons committee urges road safety rethink
31 October 2008
MPs have called for new measures to tackle deaths on British roads, including tougher drink-driving rules and wider use of 20mph speed limits.
The House of Commons Transport Committee said young drivers should also be stopped from carrying teenage passengers between 11pm and 5am to help reduce the number of accidents.
Committee members said the system for recording road traffic injuries is ‘flawed’, and that the death toll on British roads should be seen as the ‘major public health problem of our age’.
Road safety survey
The government has now been urged to adopt a ‘British road safety survey’ that tracks overall road safety trends.
Committee chairman Louise Ellman said: ‘The number of deaths and injuries on our roads far outweighs the deaths and injuries in other transport modes or in other work-related accidents.
‘We need to start seeing this not only as a collection of individual tragedies but also as the major public health problem of our age.’
Road traffic deaths
But a Department for Transport spokesperson said the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads each year has been cut by more than a third since the mid-1990s.
‘We work continually to improve the way road casualty data is recorded and are now linking police and hospital data.
‘However, criticism of our statistics is itself based on flawed comparisons with hospital admissions data, which are published with a warning about their reliability for monitoring trends over time.’
Liberal Democrats said drunk drivers continue to kill as many people as they did a decade ago, and that the government should be ashamed it has ‘failed to make a dent in the problem’.
Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Mark Hunter said: ‘Ministers must now hold their hands up and admit their approach hasn't worked. They must now agree to reduce the drink-drive limit, in line with other European countries’.
Road safety charity Brake, which claims eight people are killed on British roads every day, welcomed the committee’s recommendations.
Effective car safety features such as child car seats and airbags can help avoid death or injury when accidents occur. If you would like to find out more about car safety, read the Which? guide to the best car safety features. The , which has detailed information on hundreds of cars, includes Euro NCap safety ratings to help you choose the safest new and used cars.
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