Minister Outlines Road Safety Challenges at RoSPA Congress

Thursday, 5th Mar '09 at 10:34
The Minister with responsibility for road safety will reinforce the Government’s commitment to reducing deaths and injuries on Britain's roads when he speaks at RoSPA's Road Safety Congress today.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, will address 250 delegates in Blackpool on the final day of the 74th annual conference.

In 2007, road deaths in Britain fell below 3,000 for the first time since records began more than 80 years ago.

Mr Fitzpatrick will thank road safety professionals for the part they have played in reducing the figures, but his speech will also highlight the need to guard against complacency. He will underline the Government's commitment to further improving the safety of all groups of road users, including through the Department for Transport's consultation on road safety compliance, which closes on Friday.

The overriding theme of the three-day conference - entitled Road Safety: What Have We Learnt? - is how lessons of the past can inform road casualty reduction strategies of the future. The event, sponsored by Britax Excelsior Ltd, is being held at a crucial time as the Government's current road safety strategy nears its end in 2010, and the next strategy is under development.

Helping motorcyclists stay safe will be a subject covered by three speakers today.

Stuart Lovett, safety action plan co-ordinator at the Highways Agency, will introduce delegates to Great Roads Great Rides 2, a new version of a safety-focused DVD put together for motorcyclists by motorcyclists. Stephen Rumble, road safety research and projects officer at Warwickshire County Council, will talk about the county's Rider Training Programme, and Shelby Williams, of Lancashire Police, will outline the Ridesafe Backsafe initiative.

The conference's final session will look at the role of technology in road safety.

Chief Inspector Mark Trimmer of Sussex Police will talk about a crime-beating road safety scheme which enables members of the public to report anti-social driving and abandoned vehicles. Alix Weekes, of vehicle research centre Thatcham, will make the case for electronic stability control (ESC) technology to be fitted to cars to reduce the number of deaths caused by skidding. And Irene Williamson, road safety officer at Staffordshire County Council, will outline the authority's Young Driver Coaching Programme, through which devices can be fitted to the cars of newly-qualified drivers to record data on how the vehicle is being driven.

Kevin Clinton, RoSPA head of road safety, said: “In 2007, 2,946 people were killed on Britain’s roads. While this figure was the lowest since records began, there is, as the Minister will say, no room for complacency. Too many families across the country continue to experience the pain and suffering that road accidents cause.

“By sharing information about road safety interventions that have worked in the past and laying the foundations for future strategies, the ultimate aim of this congress is the continued reduction of road deaths and injuries.”

For more information on RoSPA's 74th Road Safety Congress, taking place at Blackpool's Hilton Hotel, visit www.rospa.com/road/
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