24 April 2007.
For immediate release.

Contact the ABD

Previous
Press Release
Next

Channel 4 "Killer Road" Programme Hits The Spot on Road Safety
On 23 April, Channel 4 screened a programme called "Killer Road" featuring families of victims and those involved in five fatal accidents on the A46 in Lincolnshire.

Despite the unfortunate title (the conclusion was that the drivers were the problem rather than the road), this programme was a good piece of road safety, as it described real collisions and their causes alongside moving interviews with family members.
 
The five crashes were: Lincolnshire ABD co-ordinator and former traffic policeman Keith Peat said:
"These are typical of the kind of collisions that happen every day on Britain's roads with tragic consequences. All road users need to learn from the stories of the courageous people who took part in this programme and to realise that driving can be a life and death matter. The causes of real accidents are rarely publicised - an astounding state of affairs when 3500 are dying on the roads every year."
These five examples show that most fatal crashes are caused either by extreme, obviously dangerous acts of a tiny but reckless minority, or by lapses of attention/concentration by normal, responsible drivers. None of them are the result of people breaking speed limits by a few mph.
 
Keith Peat continued:
"Current safety policies based on lower speed limits and enforcement by cameras aren't working, cameras cannot detect erratic, unlit cyclists, or disqualified, drunk drivers. Neither can they prevent suicidal overtaking. A police presence on the A46 would have prevented the three "reckless" accidents because the behaviour that caused them was obvious long beforehand. But traffic police have been cut back, whilst resource has been poured into cameras, speed limits and traffic calming projects."
Meanwhile, local authorities have been implementing and enforcing speed limits that are lower than the road conditions are telling a reasonably expert driver to travel at. This prevents involvement in driving and reduces attention and concentration. The safest driver is the one who is reading the road conditions ahead and adjusting speed accordingly. By preventing this, they are actually encouraging the kind of lapses that caused the remaining two collisions. The ABD's Nigel Humphries said:
"These five collisions, and their terrible aftermaths, show how irrelevant and counterproductive a speed camera based safety policy can be, road safety needs to start where Channel 4 did — with real accidents and their causes. People need to be told how and why crashes happen and what needs to be done to prevent them. Then we need sensible speed limits, better driver training and proper targeting of dangerous behaviour by trained traffic police."

 

 
 
NOTES FOR EDITORS
 
Channel 4 — Killer Road
 
"Killer Road" is repeated on More 4 at 22:00 Sunday 29th April 2007 (Sky:142, Virgin:142, Freeview:13).

 
 
Notes for Editors about the ABD