LIST OF CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
(a) Illegal and inappropriate speed is
a major contributory factor in crashes and casualties in both
urban and rural areas (paragraph 14).
(b) Speed may kill more and seriously
injure many more people than has commonly been thought. The health
service should play a more active part in the collection of data
on injuries, and should be funded to do this (paragraph 15).
(c) The full cost to the nation of road
traffic accidents is very large; a DTLR study has estimated it
to be £17 bn in a single year. If drivers travelled at lower
and more appropriate speeds, the savings to society would be immense,
as the savings to individuals would be. If the measures recommended
in this Report were to achieve a reduction of road traffic accidents
by a third, the savings to society could be as great as £100
million per week (paragraph 16).
(d) Most deaths of car occupants take
place on rural roads, but most crashes and pedestrian deaths in
urban areas. Compared with several other European countries our
child pedestrian death rate is high. Speed causes major health
inequalities, especially in urban areas; child pedestrians who
live in deprived areas are particularly at risk from road traffic
(e) There are serious indirect health
effects of inappropriate traffic speed. Fast-moving traffic plays
a part in discouraging physical activity by inhibiting walking
and cycling in urban and rural areas. We recommend an increase
in the number of dedicated cycle routes. Moreover, vehicles travelling
at speed are noisy, sever communities and undermines urban regeneration
(f) Pedestrian railings, barriers and
staggered crossings are designed to maintain traffic flows and
restrict pedestrian movement. They do not deal with the root of
the problem which is that traffic is sometimes moving too quickly.
The Government has failed to change this situation; it must advocate
a policy which does not create urban areas where cars can speed
and pedestrians are corralled behind barriers, but rather places
where pedestrians can walk safely because traffic speeds have
been reduced. The proposed guidance from Government on designing
"pedestrian-friendly environments" should reflect this
policy (paragraph 31).
(g) The groups most likely to speed excessively
are those driving in a work related capacity, members of high
income households and your males. Motorcyclists are also a serious
problem, and HGV drivers commonly exceed the 40 mph limit on single
carriageway main roads (paragraph 35).
(h) The combination of bad road design,
driver ignorance and a belief that speeding is acceptable must
be tackled if speeds are to be reduced to safe levels (paragraph
(i) Guidelines should allow local decisions
to be taken to site cameras in locations where such a risk has
been identified (paragraph 59).
(j) In the pilot project areas the Safety
Camera Scheme has been very successful, bringing about a big reduction
in crashes and casualties. If police force areas have not joined
the Safety Camera Scheme by the end of 2004, the Government should
consider making it mandatory (paragraph 60).
(k) The new rules about the visibility
and location of cameras are unreasonable. Crashes do not just
occur at accident blackspots. There was no scientific research
to support this decision. People will die as a result. Police
and local authorities should decide where to locate cameras and
whether they should be visible. Their decisions be should informed
by pilot projects to  test whether safety cameras should be
overt or covert and  identify a series of locations other than
severe accident blackspots where the speed of traffic needs to
be reduced. The Department of Health should be on the Project
Board for the Safety Camera Scheme to ensure that public health
issues are fully taken into account in the decisions it makes
(l) Safety cameras are of little use
in catching or deterring drivers travelling at inappropriate speeds
or unlicensed drivers. Moreover, cameras paid for under the scheme
can only be used at severe accident blackspots. The Police must
ensure that there are adequate numbers of traffic police to deter:
- inappropriate speed;
- unlicensed drivers; and
- drivers who speed at places away from the accident
blackspots where cameras will be located.
There should be no further reduction in the numbers
of traffic police (paragraph 63).
(m) Existing penalties for speeding are
inadequate. The Home Office's dilatoriness in implementing the
proposals in its Consultation Paper on road traffic penalties
issued 18 months ago is unacceptable. We recommend that the proposals
in the Consultation Paper be implemented without delay. There
should be legislation in the next session of Parliament (paragraph
(n) We recommend that the Home Office
and Lord Chancellor's Department issue clearer guidance about
the use of magistrates' discretion in "exercising special
reasons not to disqualify" (paragraph 68).
(o) The Government should publish as a
priority revised Guidance to local authorities on setting local
speed limits and principles for speed management. The Guidance
should also offer information on the range of interventions available
to local authorities to act as preventative measures in advance
of crashes and injuries occurring. Local authorities should subsequently
be guided by a national framework for determining appropriate
vehicle speeds on roads and by a new hierarchy of roads defined
by their function and quality in urban and rural areas (paragraph
(p) We recommend that the following guidance
on speed limits be issued to local authorities (paragraph 75).
Proposed guidance to local authorities re speed
limits for cars
Type of Road
Many residential areas, some mixed routes, vicinity of schools
vicinity of schools
Major outer urban roads
'C' and Unclassified roads*
Poorer quality 'A' and 'B' roads
Good quality single carriageway 'A' roads
*Some current 'C' roads should become 'B' roads
(q) Repeat signs should be permitted in 30 mph zones
where the speed limit is not apparent from the design of the road
or cannot be enforced by traffic calming. The 'derestricted' sign
should be relaced by a sign indicating what the speed limit is
(r) The Government should encourage local authorities
to make more use of 20 mph zones, enforced by suitable engineering
measures. The measures should be area wide to avoid displacement.
They should concentrate on accident prevention and improving the
quality of life, and should not be only introduced as an ad hoc
response to serious crashes (paragraph 81).
(s) We recommend that the Government publish the results
of the home zone pilot projects as soon as possible. If successful,
the Government should fund them and support their widespread introduction
(t) Following the success of the Gloucester 'Safer
City Project', the Government should ensure that similar projects
are introduced into towns and cities throughout the country (paragraph
(u) Many of the most dangerous urban roads have to
be used by both pedestrians and motor vehicles. Guidance to local
authorities should recommend that particular care is taken to
ensure that these routes are suitably engineered to enforce the
speed limit. The Government must now establish the 'Urban
Road Hierarchy' which it promised in its Road Safety Strategy
in March 2000 (paragraph 84).
(v) We recommend that guidance to local authorities
indicate that a 20 mph limit should be the norm in the vicinity
of schools in urban and rural areas during the day on week days,
though they should have ability to vary the limits at other times
(w) Guidance to local authorities on speed limits should
recommend that there be a 30 mph limit in villages. Appropriate
measures should be taken by the local authority in consultation
with the villagers to ensure the limit is obeyed. They should
also decide which settlements are villages (paragraph 89).
(x) We recommend that guidance to local authorities
indicate that 40 mph be the speed limit on C and Unclassified
roads. Research should be undertaken into the best ways of enforcing
such a limit. Some of the better quality wider C and Unclassified
(where a higher speed is appropriate) might be reclassified as
B roads. If a 40 mph limit were introduced on minor roads it may
be possible to increase the limit for HGVs on A and B roads from
the present 40 mph (paragraph 90).
(y) Guidance to local authorities should include advice
about which types of single carriageway main roads should have
a 60 mph limit and which the lower 50 mph limit. The sign which
currently indicates the national speed limit should be scrapped;
road signs should indicate what the actual speed limit is (paragraph
(z) The Government should now make every effort to
introduce the Rural Road Hierarchy it promised over two years
ago. There are fewer examples of good practice in rural than in
urban areas: there should be pilot projects in rural areas comparable
to the Gloucester Safer City project (paragraph 92).
(aa) The Government should make it easier for local
authorities to make changes to the speed limit on roads. It should
introduce a simplified procedure for making speed limit orders
(bb) The Government should ensure that guidelines should
not be in a form that discourages local authorities from taking
appropriate decisions to reflect local circumstances (paragraph
(cc) In 1997 the TRL estimated that a comprehensive
package of traffic calming measures in urban areas would cost
£3bn. We recommend that this estimate be updated and that
an estimate be made of the cost of measures to reduce casualties
in rural areas be undertaken with a view to providing the funds
in the Ten Year Plan. We note that the sum is likely to be less
than the funds proposed for safety improvements on the railways,
but spending it would save many, many more lives than are lost
on the railways every year. Safety should be a priority for all
modes of transport (paragraph 97).
(dd) We recommend that type approval for speedometers
be amended so as to provide for designs which make drivers more
aware of the 30 mph speed limit. We also urge the industry to
develop further use of digital speedometers to ensure that more
accurate information is given to drivers (paragraph 99).
(ee) In the long run Intelligent Speed Adaption offers
the opportunity to put an end to illegal and inappropriate speed.
The Government should strongly support this technology by:
- continuing to fund research, including the projected trials
from 2002 to 2006;
- encouraging voluntary adoption by fleet managers and providing
tax incentives to those who do;
- establishing a Europe-wide requirement that all new vehicles
sold from 2013 should have an ISA capability; and
- fund the development of a digital road map to ensure that
the information needed to make ISA successful is easily available
(ff) 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 (paragraph 112).
(gg) The effect of widely applying well-researched
and understood measures to improve enforcement, engineering and
education would produce very impressive result both in reducing
lives and transforming the quality of life of millions of people.
Even spreading best practice to all parts of country would have
an enormous effect. Many of the very high total of deaths and
serious injuries to which inappropriate speed contributes could
be avoided. Total deaths could be reduced to under 1,000 per year.
The Government's target of reducing the number of people killed
and seriously injured by 40% could easily be exceeded. However,
progress to date is slow, and the Government's new rules about
the location of safety cameras threaten to undermine this target
(hh) The failure to take road safety in general and
speed in particular seriously has important effects. We would
have expected campaigns to be mounted to reduce so tragic and
avoidable form of death and serious injury. There are many opportunities
for all parts of the media to do this; unfortunately, some elements
in the press do the reverse: they rail against the very measures
designed to reduce speed and save lives. The evidence to this
inquiry shows that there are serious concerns about the link between
motor industry advertising and journalism. We are also concerned
that the BBC has done so little to promote road safety in pursuance
of its general public service obligation (paragraph 130).
(ii) However, during this inquiry we have had no opportunity
to put the criticisms we have received to representatives of the
media or the motor industry. These issues need to be considered
in more detail. We hope that the new Transport Committee will
investigate them (paragraph 131).
(jj) A few local authorities have taken very effective
measures which have saved lives and led to major improvements
in the quality of life. Others, however, have done much less.
All should aim to reach the standards which the best have now
achieved. Local authorities do face funding difficulties: there
are too few revenue funds (which means that are too few skilled
staff) and too many obstacles to getting cost-effective schemes
approved. Although it is insufficient for the programme outlined
by the TRL in 1997, there is more capital available than before.
The principal problem is that too few councils have made road
safety and speed reduction a priority (paragraph 140).
(kk) The Association of Chief Police Officers has shown
an impressive commitment to tackling road traffic speed. Unfortunately,
not all police authorities have given it the same priority. The
Home Office must make it very clear to all of them that road traffic
policing is a priority. The Metropolitan Police was singled out
for criticism for its disregard of this important aspect of policing.
We recommend that the Greater London Authority review the Metropolitan
Police's approach to traffic policing as a priority (paragraph
(ll) The Government should not have accepted the European
Commission's decisions to introduce a voluntary scheme rather
than a Pedestrian Directive. The voluntary scheme must now be
carefully monitored. If it has not been successful by 2005, the
Government should press the European Commission to introduce a
Directive (paragraph 149).
(mm) Many who live in villages on the Highways Agency's
road network endure intolerable conditions. The Agency has made
some progress in introducing traffic calming and 30 mph limits,
but it has been very slight and very slow. Too few traffic calming
schemes have been installed. Insufficient account is given to
the severance of communities and the quality of life in assessing
the introduction of both schemes and 30 mph limits. The Agency
should now establish a programme for installing 30mph limits and
attendant speed reduction measures in all villages along its network
(nn) Crashes which occur while drivers are working
are very common, and deaths caused in this way are probably the
largest single cause of work-related fatalities. The HSC would
be negligent if it failed to extend its activities to this most
important safety issue. The fact that it would cost money is not
an excuse for ignoring it. If it does not do so, the Government
must demand that it reconsiders the matter. It must provide the
money to ensure that the HSE can employ the necessary staff. Clearer
guidance to employers on managing road risk is urgently needed.
We recommend that the Transport Committee investigates this in
more detail (paragraph 156).
(oo) If any other activity were to cause as many deaths
and injuries as car crashes, it would be treated with much more
concern and much more vigorous action would be taken. The Department
of Health and health authorities should:
- take road safety and speeding more seriously as a public
health issue, and encourage public health officers to do so as
- take a lead in major Government publicity campaigns to promote
responsible attitudes to speeding; and promote such attitudes
in GP surgeries and hospitals;
- partnerships should be established locally between local
authorities, police authorities, magistrates and primary care
trusts and other health organisations;
- a national road accident database of the type already working
- in preparing Local Transport Plans, local authorities should
consult public health departments and primary care trusts, seeking
their opinions on the plans at an early stage of preparation;
they should also ensure that health improvement programmes are
linked with Local Transport Plans.
- the Department of Health should be represented on the National
Safety Camera Project Board (paragraph 161).
(pp) There must be better co-ordination between Government
Offices and local authorities, regional planning bodies, and health
professionals; and between the Government Offices in the Regions
and the DTLR's Local Transport Plan Division and Road Safety Division
(qq) There also needs to be very significant improvements
in the co-ordination between speed management strategies and the
Regional Economic Strategies of the RDAs and Regional Planning
Guidance (paragraph 163).
(rr) We recommend that the Home Office emphasise that
road traffic policing is a priority and that the National Policing
Plan contain a commitment to that effect. The best value indicator
relating to traffic policing should be retained (paragraph 169).
(ss) Local authorities rightly cherish their independence,
but this should not extend to neglecting road safety: saving lives
should not be a matter for discretion (paragraph 170).
(tt) The Government should establish a National Speed
Management Strategy which should:
- highlight the effect of decreases in speed on reducing casualties;
- set targets for reductions in speeds by local authority;
- publish examples of success and good practice, and take measures
to get them adopted;
- establish a programme to change attitudes, including misinformation
from the press; seek a more responsible attitude to speeding from
the media, advertisers and motor manufacturers; and provide a
much larger publicity budget to encourage safer driving;
- involve Government, highway authorities, police, and motoring
organisations in developing the strategy, and
- publish a regular report on success in implementing the measures
set out in its document, New Directions in Speed Management
(March 2001) (paragraph 171)
(uu) Road safety should be given a higher priority
in the Ten Year Plan. The Transport Research Laboratory concluded
that £3bn would be adequate to make urban roads safer by
major changes to their design. This sum will no longer be sufficient.
The Department of Transport should now estimate the total amount
which needs to be spent on safety measures. This should be specifically
identified in the Ten Year Plan. The DTLR should provide funds
for further demonstration projects, including Safety City Projects
in each region of the country, and similar projects in rural areas.
(vv) The Government should insist that all local authorities
introduce Speed Management Plans which give priority to pedestrians
in urban and rural areas. If local authorities do not introduce
schemes to deal with speed, best practices should apply (paragraph
(ww) There has to be a consistent approach from the
whole of Government, including DTLR, the Home Office, the DfES,
the DTI and the Department of Health. Road safety must be a central
part of the many strategies which these Departments are drawing
up (paragraph 174).
(xx) Finally, and most importantly, the Government
needs to give political leadership (paragraph 175).
The DTLR already provides: to encourage an expansion of 20mph
zones (£3.5m) home zones (£30m fund) and to fund five
demonstration projects to improve safety on mixed priority urban
routes (5.5m). Back