HC Deb 01 March 2000 vol 345 cc282-3W
Mr. Tony Clarke

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what progress he has made in developing the Government's road safety strategy; and if he will make a statement. [112908]

Mr. Hill

Today, we have published our road safety strategy, "Tomorrow's roads—safer for everyone". This sets stretching new targets to reduce the number of casualties on our roads, particularly child deaths and injuries. By 2010 we want to see a 40 per cent. overall reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured and a 50 per cent. reduction in the number of children killed or seriously injured, compared with the average for 1994–98. We also want to see a 10 per cent. reduction in the rate of slight injuries, measured per 100 million vehicle kilometres.

Measures to achieve these objectives include: expecting local authorities to use their powers to introduce self-enforcing 20 mph zones around schools and in residential areas; a robust package of measures to further reduce drink driving; strengthening enforcement of drug driving, including a commitment to legislate to give police the powers to test for drugs at the roadside; consulting the public on a package of measures designed to encourage young and new drivers to take a more structured approach to learning to drive; continuing to monitor the driving test to ensure it is sufficiently stretching and appropriate for modern driving conditions; developing information schemes and advice for older drivers and publicity on the dangers of driving while using a mobile phone; expecting a 30 mph speed limit to be the norm for villages; increasing resources for Local Transport Plans, which will include local road safety plans and targets, to £1 billion next year; setting up a Road Safety Advisory Panel which will include representatives of the main stakeholders and will help us to review our targets and strategy; and raising the standard of road safety education, particularly promoting child pedestrian training in deprived areas, where we know children are at greater risk.

Enforcement of road traffic law will have a major part to play in improving road safety. The Home Office is conducting a major review of all road traffic penalties, including those for speeding and careless driving, which will report in due course.

The Government's detailed review of speed policy has also been published today. "Tomorrow's roads—safer for everyone" reflects the findings of this review. It does not recommend blanket changes to existing speed limits, but acknowledges that there is a place for lower limits in specific areas where there is an accident problem.

Copies of the documents published today—the Government's detailed review of speed policy; the Government's response to the ETR Select Committee's report, "Young and Newly Qualified Drivers: Standards and Training"; the Government's response to the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety's report, "Road Traffic Law and Enforcement; the Highways Agency's safety plan, "Making the network safer—Highways Agency strategic plan for safety" and a report by the Transport Research Laboratory, "The numerical context for setting national casualty reduction targets"—have all been placed in the Library.