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 certainly agree that that should be the case. That is why it is so important that the work is data-led, so that the public can have confidence that cameras are used only in locations where there is a justifiable need for them. I think that that is particularly important when it comes to things such as speed cameras, where motorists are being fined.

Moving on to working locally, it has become increasingly clear, as the PACTS report recognises, that road safety is not just about speed or chasing previous collision history, but about ensuring that actions are focused on reducing dangers more widely. Sometimes, making motorists feel safer has the perverse effect of making them drive more dangerously, but if they are made alert to possible risks, they drive with greater attention. It was, for example, a brave decision for Westminster City Council to remove the pedestrian railings at Oxford Circus when the crossing was redesigned to include diagonal lines. I think we would all agree that that has been a success. It works through behavioural measures—through a nudge, as they say.

It is not only Westminster that is innovating and taking bold steps forward to tackle broader dangers on our roads. Across the country, we are increasingly seeing proactive partnerships, like the one we have in Staffordshire, which represents a change in approach from local service providers. There is an increasing shift towards more holistic preventive actions through a whole range of methods, with the local community stepping up to take greater responsibility to improve safety on their roads. That means more work in schools and with community groups, to teach people about safety and encourage more responsible road usage. Many communities are also developing speed watches in their towns and villages, with local residents volunteering time to encourage safer road usage. After all, the people who drive most irresponsibly and dangerously are often part of those communities, and peer pressure from friends and neighbours can be a powerful tool—more powerful than directions from central Government. I am glad that Whitehall now recognises that.

In conclusion, I hope that the improved use of safety indicators is under serious consideration and progressing well. We need to bolster the trend towards broader preventive and community-led initiatives that best encourage behavioural change and more responsible road usage from everyone. Making data available will be key to that, as will spreading information and examples of best practice in road safety across local partnerships, which will deliver the improvements that we all want to see. I think PACTS and Ageas have made a great contribution.