HC Deb 16 December 1986 vol 107 cc441-2W
Mr. Sims

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on developments during European Road Safety Year.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

On 17 December, acting as the presidency of the EC, we will draw together the main strands of ERSY activity in the United Kingdom and throughout the Community. Awards will be presented to individuals who have contributed to the year in each member state of the Community, and to children from the United Kingdom. The most important event will be the dispatch of a message from the Prime Minister to Transport Ministers in each member state. Her theme, and ours, is that one year is not enough: we must continue working for road safety.

During 1986 we have seen major initiatives from the private sector, from local authorities, from the police forces and from the Department. All these are reported in the ERSY newsfile. Copies are available in the Library.

The level of our participation has won us congratulations in Europe. I shall mention only a few examples: General Accident's £2 million road safety campaign and the AA research foundation from the private sector; the international conference organised by the Association of London Borough Road Safety Officers in July; the police national motorway campaign; and the international conference, "Transport Without Handicap" organised by the Department of Transport.

We have also reissued our accident investigation and prevention manual to local authorities, and will continue to encourage them to practise low-cost casualty reduction schemes.

The important message is that European Road Safety Year has not ended; we will keep on working for road safety at international, national, and local level. Specific ERSY themes on casualty reduction for the elderly, children and young people, cyclists and motorcyclists together with the greater installation and use of rear seat belts and child restraints, and the growing campaign against drinking and driving have been taken forward. The effort will continue. The majority of accidents and injuries are avoidable and preventable. The United Kingdom may have the least bad accident record in the European Community, but there were still 5,342 deaths and 320,819 injuries on our roads last year.