Roads: Safety

Department for Transport written question – answered on 17th November 2015.

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Photo of Lord Browne of Belmont Lord Browne of Belmont DUP

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of road safety awareness educational programmes in reducing accidents.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Parliamentary Under-Secretary

Road safety education includes a range of interventions including educational courses and publicity campaigns.

The Department funds the THINK! road safety publicity campaign. We evaluate the campaign to ensure it is effective, that we continually improve performance; and that we ultimately deliver value for money for the taxpayer.

Prior to each campaign we set communication objectives and key performance indicators. We measure progress against these by running surveys with our target audience before and immediately after the campaign. We have seen positive shifts in key performance indicators for the majority of our campaigns. All of our recent campaign evaluation reports are published on[1].

In the long run, positive changes in key performance indicators on campaigns such as speeding, drink driving and seatbelts have correlated with fewer drivers exceeding the speed limit, fewer accidents involving drink driving and higher seatbelt wearing rates; and ultimately to fewer road casualties.

Publicity campaigns are part of the solution to reduce road casualties and work best when used alongside enforcement and engineering interventions. Due to the multiple factors affecting casualties (weather, road conditions, traffic levels, the economy etc.) it is difficult to demonstrate a causal relationship with a specific intervention. However, in 2012 the department commissioned an independent agency to evaluate the impact drink drive campaigns have had on casualties. They used econometric modelling to estimate that over a 30 year period, drink drive communication campaigns have saved almost 2,000 lives and prevented over 10,000 serious injuries[2].

In 2013, the Transport Research Laboratory published[3] a review and synthesis of evidence on the effectiveness of pre-driver education and training for those under 17 years of age which was undertaken for the Coalition Government. The findings showed that very few interventions had been robustly evaluated and that the evidence base around pre-driver interventions was weak. The Government recently commissioned an evidence base review, to build on existing work, to help us to understand the effectiveness of a range of pre- and post-test behavioural and technological interventions for young drivers. The Government is currently also funding an evaluation of the effectiveness of speed awareness courses.




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