London, 4 Feb 2005.
For immediate release.

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"Pain Relief" for Motorists A Sure Vote Winner For All Parties
Political parties fighting the forthcoming general election campaign ignore transport issues at their peril, warns the ABD.
Understandably all parties are placing education and health at the top of their list, but it is in areas of transport and road safety where the current government have let the public down the most.
 
Education and health are of course key issues but politicians don't seem to realise it's transport problems that are faced most frequently by voters every day of their lives as they negotiate our crumbling streets.
 
Successive governments have failed dismally on transport, and the current incumbents have excelled in transport policy incompetence.
 
  1. They have reversed the previous decline in road deaths.
  2. They have drastically cut back the road building programme leaving many villages and towns in misery due to lack of essential bypasses.
  3. They have presided over a dismally failing programme of flooding the country with speed cameras which, despite the spin have not reduced fatalities.
  4. They have created money making "partnerships" of local councils, magistrates and police bureaucrats to run the cameras as money making enterprises, complete with "business plans".
  5. They have actively encouraged polluting, frustrating congestion everywhere, with ill conceived, politically inspired "traffic calming" schemes which are often a danger to all road users.
  6. Whilst frantically spinning the statistics in their attempt to convince the public that the above measures working they have failed absolutely to introduce measures to improve road user education and road engineering that would have saved many lives.
  7. They have increased congestion in many towns and cities by introducing little used bus lanes, and other "traffic management" schemes that waste road space and cause obstruction.
  8. They have encouraged local councils to make money out of restrictive parking practices causing misery to many.
  9. They have devoted huge amounts of energy attempting to falsely convince the public that car use is responsible for climate change.
  10. Whilst attempting to force us into buses and trains they have presided over further crumbling of our public transport system.
Despite this appalling record we are so far hearing very little from the opposition parties that gives us any indication they intend to change things if elected.
 
There are glimmers of hope from the Tories in that they have promised to scrap the cash hungry speed camera partnerships and to allow vehicles carrying two or more passengers to use bus lanes but they should be doing so much more.
 
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory commented:
"It is hard to believe that the labour party continue this fiasco, or that the opposition parties are failing to take advantage. Transport should be pushed right up the agenda - it is vital for the prosperity and well being of the country. Without prosperity we cannot fund education, health and all the other other vital services. Our crumbling transport network is destroying business and worse, costing many lives."
ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries said:
"Motorists are feeling oppressed and victimised. And it's no surprise because a whole basket of failed anti-car policies live on causing no beneficial effect - only misery. Speed cameras. Empty bus lanes. So called "traffic calming" measures. These are not good policies that deliver benefit to the community. These are bad policies that make motorists feel mugged. There is so much that election protagonists could be promising the 33 million motorist voters"
The ABD suggests that political parties should make firm manifesto commitments to:
  1. Reinstate road building and improvement schemes.
  2. Scrap all congestion charging and tolling plans.
  3. Ensure speed cameras will only be placed within a few metres of blackspots where accidents have been caused by sober, otherwise legal drivers exceeding correctly set speed limits.
  4. Introduce a body of experts comprised of experienced traffic officers and highway engineers to oversee setting of speed limits with an aim to eventually take this task out of the hands of local politicians.
  5. Freeze fuel taxes and vehicle excise duty with a promise to increase year on year the percentage of the 42 billion collected from motorists spent on the road system (currently only around 6 billion is spent).
  6. Scrap underused bus lanes. If there is not a bus at least once every ten minutes then the lane should be open to cars.
  7. Return the role of traffic wardens to that of reducing congestion and danger by preventing dangerous parking, not as cash collectors for local councils.
  8. Reinstate traffic police divisions with a clear mandate to educate and carry out enforcement only against those causing danger, not targeting minor, safe violations of poorly set limits.
All parties could do well to look at the ABD manifesto at www.abd.org.uk/manifesto.htm for further inspiration.

 

 
Notes for Editors