More than 250 road safety experts will meet next week to tackle the tough task of reducing the number of deaths on Britain's roads. They will pay particular attention to the rising toll of motorcycle tragedies.
The worrying standstill in the number of car driver and passenger fatalities will also be high on the agenda at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents National Road Safety Congress - Driving Deaths Down.
Sponsored by Britax, it will take place at the Hilton Metropole Brighton from Monday to Wednesday, February 28 - March 2. The conference is set against a background of road deaths rising from 3,431 in 2002 to 3,508 in 2003.
The biggest problem was with fatalities among motorcyclists, which were up 14 per cent. But there has also been no real change in car occupant deaths (1,769 in 2003) since the mid-1990s, while pedestrian and cyclist deaths have fallen.
The Government launched the first National Motorcycling Strategy a few days ago and David Jamieson, Transport Minister, will be one of the key speakers at the event.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA Head of Road Safety, said: "Despite superb progress in road safety generally in recent years, the number of deaths has stopped falling and we don't want to see last year's rise becoming a trend.
"We need to redouble our efforts to improve driver behaviour and motorcycle safety.
"The congress will be focusing on the Government's motorcycling strategy and on the role of motorcycle training. But we will also be looking at refresher training for drivers and how high-profile policing, improved car design and innovative traffic engineering measures can be used to reduce the number of car crashes."
On Monday, Britax, the UK's leading child car seat manufacturer, will demonstrate Isofix, a method of fixing a child car seat directly to the car without using a seatbelt (photocall 10.30am). Paul Fleming, Managing Director Europe, Britax, will address the conference.
"There are real concerns about children being unrestrained in cars and about poorly-fitted child car seats," Kevin Clinton said. "The law will soon require all children to be properly restrained in cars and Isofix is the way forward."