Written statement to Parliament

Strategic framework for road safety

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Philip Hammond MP launches plans to help local authorities, road safety professionals and other stakeholders improve road safety.

Today (11 May 2011) I am launching a new strategic framework for road safety. This outlines the government’s plans to reduce deaths and injuries on Britain’s roads as well as the measures and steps that others can take. It is available for download from the Department for Transport website.

The strategic framework aims to provide clarity to local authorities, road safety professionals and other stakeholders on their roles and responsibilities in improving road safety and the increased freedom that is being given to local authorities in assessing and acting on their own priorities.

In line with the coalition’s commitment to localism, we want decisions to be made locally, wherever possible, and this document sets out how we are moving away from over-arching national road safety targets and towards a more sophisticated method of monitoring progress through a road safety outcomes framework which will help local authorities assess and prioritise their action and show the impact of central government measures.

Additionally, at the local level, there will be an increase in the road safety information that is available to the public to help them hold their local authorities and service providers to account.

Of course, there is still an important role for national government in delivering safer roads. Our central focus will be on supporting road users who have weak driving skills or who display a lapse of judgement to improve their driving, while focusing enforcement resources against those who deliberately decide to undertake antisocial and dangerous driving behaviour.

Where road users make low level mistakes or display poor skills we intend to divert them in to a greater range of educational courses to help develop safer skills and attitudes. We will extend this approach to careless driving through the introduction of a new fixed penalty notice as well as new remedial educational courses. We need to re-balance road safety enforcement away from a narrow focus on camera-enforced speed policing, to address the wider range of behaviours that create risk on the roads. Where road users commit serious, deliberate and repeated offences we aim to increase the effectiveness of enforcement for this minority - for example, through improving the efficiency of action on drink and drug driving. Through this approach we aim to improve the targeting and effectiveness of enforcement to tackle a wide range of unsafe behaviours that cover all careless and dangerous driving offences.

Our long-term vision is to ensure that Britain remains a world leader on road safety and to continue the downward trend in casualties. We believe that the measures set out in this strategic framework will help us to achieve this vision.

Full impact assessments, including the potential impacts on enforcement and the judicial system, will be prepared in the usual way when legislation is brought forward.

Copies of this document have been placed in the libraries of both Houses.