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More Investment In Road Safety Education Needed - February 23rd 2007

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    RoSPA is renewing its call for a greater focus on road safety education and enforcement as a way of preventing accidents on Britain's roads, in light of a national report published today (February 26).

    The Society is backing recommendations in the Audit Commission's Changing Lanes report on road safety, which was released to coincide with the start of RoSPA's National Road Safety Congress.

    Kevin Clinton, Head of Road Safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "Although road casualty figures in Britain have been decreasing, this report makes clear that there is still room for improvement, with some groups remaining at a disproportionately higher risk, including motorcyclists, young drivers and child pedestrians, especially in deprived areas.

    "We welcome the report's finding that the time has come for a greater focus on, and more resources directed to, education and enforcement, which do not currently receive the same level of funding as engineering schemes.

    "Changing the behaviour and attitude of road users is hugely important. As the latest figures on contributory factors in road accidents show, 66 per cent of incidents involved an error or reaction by a driver or rider. Failing to look properly was the most frequently reported factor - in 32 per cent of all accidents - and loss of control was reported in 35 per cent of fatal accidents. In accidents resulting in injury or death to a pedestrian, a failure to look properly on the part of the pedestrian was reported in 53 per cent of cases.

    "We support the Audit Commission's recommendations, which include improving the analysis of road accident data, involving local people in identifying problems and finding solutions, targeting education schemes at specific at-risk groups in particular areas, and joint working between different agencies, as ways of making a lasting improvement to road safety in Britain."

    RoSPA also welcomes the report's reference to the important role employers can play in reducing the risks to employees who drive for work, for example through systems that identify those at above average risk of crashing.

    RoSPA's National Road Safety Congress, Encouraging Education in Road Safety, runs until Wednesday (February 28) at the Holiday Inn in Stratford-upon-Avon. It will focus on the need for continuous road safety education and training throughout life.

    Dr Stephen Ladyman, Minister for Road Safety at the Department for Transport, will open the event, which is sponsored by Britax, and Peter Wilkinson, Managing Director of Policy, Research and Studies at the Audit Commission, will present the findings of Changing Lanes.

    Delegates including road safety managers, accident prevention officers, representatives of the police and fire services, highways safety engineers, trainers, health workers, councillors and consultants will also be able to see the latest developments in road safety technology at an exhibition running throughout the conference.