Road Safety — [Mrs Madeleine Moon in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 16th October 2018.

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Photo of Jack Brereton Jack Brereton Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent South 2:30 pm, 16th October 2018

I agree to an extent, in that those are some of the key roads where investment should be prioritised. There are also far too many accidents occurring in urban areas—hits particularly involving pedestrians, which are obviously much more prevalent in towns and cities, where an accident can be much more serious.

I will go through the eight specific indicators. The first is compliance with speed limits on national roads. Speeding currently accounts for about one fifth of road fatalities. The second indicator is compliance with speed limits on local roads. Data collection for both those speed indicators would be through existing speed monitoring equipment and self-reporting in, for example, the Royal Automobile Club survey, which already identifies this.

Obviously, speed is not everything when it comes to reducing dangers, so the third point is abstinence from alcohol and drug consumption. That is a key indicator. Nearly 15% of road crash fatalities involve a driver exceeding the legal alcohol limit. I am told by the Institute of Alcohol Studies that deaths caused by drink-driving are now at their highest rate since 2012. Meanwhile, it is estimated that some 200 road deaths a year—more than 10% of road deaths—are drug-driving related.

The fourth indicator is the percentage of car occupants using a seatbelt, child seats or child restraints. For many people, wearing a seatbelt is now second nature, but, despite it being illegal not to wear a seatbelt, not enough people are wearing seatbelts. Not wearing a seatbelt accounts for between 20% and 30% of road fatalities among car occupants. That is more than 150 deaths a year.

The fifth indicator relates to one of the more recent legislative changes; it is the percentage of drivers not using an in-car or hands-free phone. It can be difficult to establish when mobile phone use has contributed to a crash, but it is reported that dozens of fatal crashes involve the use of a mobile phone.

The sixth indicator is the percentage of new passenger cars with the highest European New Car Assessment Programme safety rating, which is obviously important for the quality and design of vehicles. An academic study cited in the PACTS report has estimated that the risk of fatal injuries is dramatically reduced in five-star-rated vehicles by as much as 68% compared with two-star-rated vehicles. The seventh indicator is the percentage of roads with the highest relevant International Road Assessment Programme ratings, broken down by road type. The final proposed indicator is the percentage of emergency medical vehicles arriving at an accident within 18 minutes of notification.

Those are the eight indicators set out in the report by PACTS and Ageas. Some data will be more challenging than others to collect. The report identifies a number of sources and methods for that collection. It also lists alternative indicators that were considered but rejected because of the difficulties in accurate data collection, such as cyclists not wearing the correct type of helmet, which would be quite difficult to calculate.