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Our behaviour on the road may have changed, but the government must keep up

Statistics show that road accident deaths and injuries have decreased since 2012, but the government still needs to prioritise safe driving in its policies.

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7 October 2014 / by Jonathan White / legal-blog

Road casualty statistics recently released by the Department for Transport have revealed that road accident death and injury figures are on a distinctly encouraging downward trend.

The Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain (RRCGB) 2013 annual report found that road deaths in 2013 decreased by 2 per cent, to 1,713, compared to 2012. This decline means we now have the lowest figure for road deaths since the national records began in 1926.

The trend for road casualties follows a similarly promising pattern, with the total number of road accident casualties reported to the police dropping by 6 per cent from the 2012 total, to 183,670.

The findings suggest that we are becoming a nation of better and more responsible drivers, a notion supported by our recent research, which found that drivers are increasingly prioritising responsible driving over the aesthetics of the car they drive. We found that British drivers are more concerned with safety features and fuel economy than sound systems or flashy paint jobs.

Whilst such trends show that we are clearly heading in the right direction, more needs to be done to bring down the number of road deaths and casualties on Britain’s roads. As Party Conference season draws to a close, and with political leaders ramping up towards next year’s general election, now is the perfect time to consider what more can be done to improve driving standards and further increase this sense of responsibility amongst our nation’s drivers.

With political parties desperate to find people-pleasing measures, election manifestos provide the ideal opportunity to capitalise on public demand for specific new safety rules for young or inexperienced drivers.

Taking P-plates as an example, 85% of respondents to our survey agreed that they should be mandatory, while a staggering 90% feel motorway driving should form part of the driving test. Nor are older drivers are immune from this desire to more rigorously control our road users, with 70% of respondents keen to see older drivers retested on an annual basis.

Clearly Britons take responsible driving seriously and would welcome new guidelines to make our roads as safe as they can be for everyone involved.

It’s high time the government ensured its policies follow suit.

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