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Ten year road safety blueprint welcomed by IAM

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Ten year road safety blueprint welcomed by IAM Ambitious Government proposals for road safety targets over the next ten years - with important new targets to save lives - have been greeted by the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists), the UK's largest independent road safety charity.

"The Department for Transport's new targets are impressive. There is no hint of complacency here and we believe that the declared aspiration - to have the safest roads in the world by 2020 - is excellent," said IAM chief examiner Peter Rodger.

"We can expect a more rigorous examination of what works for road safety, and what doesn't.

"Reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured by 33 per cent will take a formidable effort, but it's good to hear that the will is there," said Mr Rodger.

But earlier suggestions of a blanket 50mph speed limit have been dropped from the proposals, with an emphasis instead on targeting.

"No two rural roads are the same - there are places where it makes no sense to reduce the limit," said Mr Rodger.

And moves to help new drivers tackle the difficulties of rural roads are particularly needed.

"While 20mph zones outside schools may seem a simple fix, there is little evidence that children get run over there. To explore careful use of 20mph limits in primarily residential areas makes a lot more sense," said Mr Rodger.

"Conversely, deaths and serious injury on the UK's rural roads are the top road safety issue facing authorities and road users over the next ten years, as we have argued for some time."

Research by the IAM and EuroRAP (European Road Assessment Programme) in 2007 showed that rural roads can be star-rated for safety and appropriate speed limits applied at the worst locations. Those roads with bends and twists, hidden junctions and poor overtaking opportunities should be the prime candidates for a wholesale review of speed limits.

"A detailed review by local authorities to assess every mile of rural road should not result in a simple application of an arbitrary lower speed limit that conveys no obvious message to the driver," said Mr Rodger. "Even at 30mph some rural roads can be lethal - while others are perfectly safe at 60mph."

"A joint programme of road improvements, campaigns to raise awareness, more enforcement, encouragement to take extra training and including rural roads in the new driving test will ultimately deliver results."