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

Memorandum by East Lothian Council (RTS 37)



  In 2000, East Lothian experienced 361 road casualties (254 accidents), the highest annual total since 1990. This year's data also shows East Lothian as having the second poorest casualty reductions of all Scotland's 32 local authorities when the 1996-2000 average percentage change against the 1981-85 figures are compared.

  East Lothian Council considers that illegal and inappropriate speeds

    —  result in more collisions of greater severity

    —  contribute to a significant proportion of all crashes and a higher percentage of more serious crashes

    —  result in about a fifth of rural accidents

    —  affect people's quality of life (particularly vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists) through injuries, noise, fear and community severance

  East Lothian Council believes the most effective way illegal and inappropriate speeds can be meaningfully reduced is to progress the recommendations put forward in the following recent publications, however, Central Government must allocate appropriate additional resources to local roads authorities.

    —  New Directions In Speed Management—A Review of Policy (DETR March 2000)

    —  Taking Action on Speeding—(PACTS October 1996)

    —  Road Traffic Law and Enforcement (PACTS July 1999)

  East Lothian has particular concerns that the resources for road policing (both police and prosecution services) have not kept pace with the significant increases in motoring. Traffic law enforcement has also suffered as a result of a failure of road policing to be considered as a central element of policing in general.

    —  54 per cent increase in the number of licensed vehicles in Scotland

    —  15 per cent Police resources addressing traffic law enforcement in early 80's

    —  6 per cent of Police resources addressing traffic law enforcement in late 90's

  It is not acceptable for Central Government to try to pass on the responsibility for these issues to local authorities. What is required is fundamental change throughout traffic law (increased fines; on-the-spot fines; recycle fines into enforcement/road safety training and education/traffic management etc) with sufficient resources provided and sustained.

  East Lothian Council believes if the risk to the driver of being caught significantly increases, speeds will fall and general driver behaviour will improve. Currently the majority are driving with little or no concern for others.

  Changing driver behaviour is the most difficult objective but promises the greatest returns.

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