Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 240-244)

MR DAVID RADFORD, DR STEWART THOMPSON AND MR JON SHORTLAND

WEDNESDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2002

  240. What about the police?
  (Mr Radford) The police in Gloucestershire share the same geographical area as the County Council and tend to share the same accident reduction savings. I am not aware of any research that the police do to show the cost benefits to the police service work.

  Helen Jackson: Perhaps some Government guidance may help.

Chairman

  241. Humps and cameras are all pretty expensive. Would it be cheaper to have a satellite in the sky giving instructions to cars as to what speed they could do on a particular road?
  (Mr Radford) I understand that ISA Leeds have done some experiments on that.

  242. So we were told last week.
  (Mr Radford) Yes, on control. I think the danger with any form of automation is that it removes the driver from taking responsibility for the driving task. With many of my colleagues who are involved in education and training on speeds and road safety work, we would prefer drivers to be more engaged in driving their cars.

  243. What about the car manufacturers? Should they look to emphasising safety rather than speed in their advertising?
  (Mr Radford) There is much to be done through technology and it needs to be done in parallel with changing the attitudes among drivers. That needs to assist the change in attitudes among drivers and the number of serious car-occupant casualties have been reduced as a result of passive safety features in cars such as airbags and seatbelts. Emphasising and studying those benefits in cars is a good idea, but sometimes they tend to mask the problem. If one feels safe and secure in one's car, one perhaps pays less attention to the safety of others around one.

  244. Do you think that the arguments about encouraging people to reduce speed are winning or do you think that people reduce speed only when forced to?
  (Mr Radford) I think we are winning. I think the general acceptance among the general public of speed cameras is an indication of that. Ten years ago I think it would have been difficult to get speed cameras accepted because the attitude of the general public was not quite ready for them. It is important to wait until there is a readiness to accept such things. That is partly why we have a very high seatbelt compliance in this country compared with some other countries.

  Chairman: On that note, I thank you very much for your evidence.


 
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