Tuesday, October 28, 2008

way road traffic injuries are recorded is "flawed".

A new report from MPs suggests there is strong evidence that the way road traffic injuries are recorded is "flawed".

The transport select committee also said that the current drink-drive limit should be lowered, roadside breath test devices should be approved and there should be tougher penalties for alcohol-related offences.

In addition the committee also repeated its call for restrictions on young drivers carrying teenage passengers between 11pm and 5am and added that there should be more 20mph speed limits.

The death toll on the roads should be seen as "the major public health problem of our age", said the committee's chairman, Louise Ellman.

Calling for a review of the gathering of road casualty statistics, the report said: "There is a significant body of evidence that the current methods for recording road traffic injuries are flawed."

MPs also said that there should be new road death reduction targets separate from those set for serious and slight injuries. Ellman said: "The number of deaths and injuries on our roads far outweighs the deaths and injuries in other transport modes or in other work-related accidents.

"We need to start seeing this not only as a collection of individual tragedies but also as the major public health problem of our age. The deaths of 3,000 people and injuries to a quarter of a million are a staggering annual toll to pay for mobility."

Although 2007 saw a seven per cent fall in road user deaths, the committee pointed out that overall progress since 2000 has been disappointing.

Little progress has been made in reducing deaths among car users and there has been a significant rise in motorcyclist deaths, which rose by 26 per cent between 1994-1998 and 2007.

The report said: "It is imperative that the Home Office gives much higher priority to enforcement of drink-drive and drug-drive offences.

"This should include the type approval of roadside evidential breath-testing devices and development of equipment to assist the police to identify and prosecute drug-impaired drivers."