104. People's attitude to speed is confused. As one
submission put it:
"Road safety is a concern to the public, but
speeding is not despite being a major cause of collisions".
We hate the effects of speed, especially when they
have a major impact in the vicinity of our homes, but we do not
consider speeding a serious offence.
105. We were left in no doubt that reducing speeds
would be popular. A survey by MORI in Hertfordshire found that
79% of people regarded dangerous driving and speeding as a problem
in their neighbourhood. In Shropshire 87% of parishes had sought
action from the county council or police.
We were informed that:
"When local people were asked about road safety
in these areas it was rated as an issue of concern to rank alongside
burglaries and muggings";
" A North Yorkshire survey asked people whether
their neighbourhood was a safe place for children. Of the 6,747
people who answered the question, 41 per cent said no and of these
81 per cent stated that this was due to speeding or other road
106. On the other hand, as the Government notes,
there is a cultural attitude which regards speed as trivial.
We were informed:
"Society does not seem to be very critical of
the conduct of drivers and so when an accident occurs unless the
behaviour of the driver is atypical and extreme, it is the typical
and often childlike behaviour of the young pedestrian where blame
107. Almost every witness said that there had to
be a change in attitudes to speed: many said that the Government
should aim to make speeding as socially unacceptable as drink
driving. TRL found
"Many drivers have difficulty in recognising
the added risk from increased speed. Misperceptions abound. In
many respects attitudes and beliefs are similar to those on drinking
and driving some 40 years ago".
108. The success in changing attitudes to drink-driving
was, as Leeds City Council informed us, based on publicity and
enforcement over a long period.
Mr Brunstrom of ACPO told us that these significant changes had
been brought about by:
"Over 25 years of consistent policy from several
governments and police service, with consistent educational messages,
with a consistent enforcement policy".
According to ACPO, the National Safety Camera Scheme
should make a huge improvement to enforcement. This should play
a major part in making "speeding socially unacceptable within
a decade ...".
There will also need to be improvements in publicity. While the
DTLR, and road safety organisations run national and local publicity
campaigns, such as Speed Kills, they have not been very successful.
109. However, education and publicity campaigns can
Several witnesses suggested improvements. We were informed that:
"Drivers see speed as a principal source of
danger..Thus the climate of opinion may well be favourable...but
more effort is needed to raise awareness of the risks and impacts,
and change behaviour"
TRL argued that there was now a lot of evidence about
the link between speed and accident risk, which should be used
as the trigger to change attitudes: "the measures need to
be coherent and to generate clear perceptual understanding by
the driver of the risk inherent in the speed they adopt for a
110. Among the views put forward for improving publicity
- general publicity should take the form of "year-round
publicity campaigns on speed through TV, radio, cinema, bill-boards
Susan Beck of Safety Camera Partnerships argued that there should
be a national television campaign co-ordinated with the National
Safety Camera Scheme;
- the Government should encourage positive media
coverage, and should refute "information based on misquoted
research"; PACTS called for a "rapid rebuttal unit in
the Department to do this;
- campaigns should be targeted at specific groups
of drivers, in particular those prone to crashes, for example,
young drivers, high mileage drivers. Fleet managers should be
encouraged to develop "a company culture which prioritises
safety and does not pressure drivers to speed"; many good
111. In addition to publicity, the training and re-training
of drivers provides opportunities to improve attitudes to speed.
In some of the safety camera partnerships, for example in Northamptonshire,
"speed diversionary workshops" have been established
as an alternative to fixed penalty notices and penalty points.
These workshops encourage drivers to re-examine their driving
habits, but it is too early to assess their effectiveness. The
national driver improvement scheme, which is similar, and under
which drivers are referred for training after committing serious
offences, have been successful.
Driving tests are to be improved by incorporating hazard perception
tests; Mr Silcock argued that these should include speed-related
112. Better publicity and education must play
a part in reducing speeds together with more effective enforcement
and engineering. We recommend that the Government:
- establish a comprehensive, all-the-year-round
publicity campaign, using the television and other media, and
co-ordinated with the National Safety Camera Scheme;
- establish campaigns targeted at specific groups;
- ensure that local partnerships support enforcement
and traffic calming measures with education campaigns;
- ensure that schemes like the 'speed diversionary
workshops' in Northamptonshire be copied through out the country
if they prove to be successful;
- make speed-related hazards a part of the hazard
perception tests to be introduced in the driving test.
113. While these measures could in conjunction with
more effective enforcement and engineering make a significant
improvement, making speeding socially unacceptable will be difficult.
As Gloucestershire County Council noted "..drivers are constantly
receiving a subliminal message that it is acceptable to speed.
All drivers know that it is illegal to break the speed limit yet
they also know that "they" (ie the police, local authorities
and Government) do not stop drivers from speeding".
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
"Unfortunately road safety education and publicity
are often undermined in the mass media. Motor manufacturers and
their advertising companies continue to emphasise the speed and
power of their vehicles. Television motoring programmes continue
to promote the thrill of speed, placing undue emphasis on performance
at speed, often showing cars being raced (albeit not on the public
highway). Television dramas often show characters driving at speed
when speed is not essential to the plot or the characterisation".
179 Street Management, TFL (RTS 24). Back
RTS 8; the evidence presented to us about the Hertfordshire
survey did not separately distinguish views on dangerous driving
and speeding. Back
ACPO, Annex 3 (RTS 137). Back
Tomorrows roads, p. 78. Back
RTS 47. Back
Eg see Nottingham City Council (RTS 9); ACPO noted that "speeding
is still socially acceptable in the way that drink-driving used
to be a generation ago, but now is not." (RTS 137); an exception
was the ABD which argued that most only speeded where it was rational
and safe hto do so (RTS 11). Back
RTS 27. Back
RTS 17. Back
RTS 137. Back
RTS 27. Back
RTS 43; Susan Beck is the National Communications Lead for the
National Safety Camera Scheme, representing all the existing and
new partnerships throughout the country. Ie the rts43. Back
RTS 14. Back
RTS 12. Back
RTS 12 Back
RTS 25. Back
RTS 16. Back