16 Nov 2012.
For immediate release.

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Let`s See Positive Proposals to Improve Road Safety
With Road Safety Week about to begin 1, the newly-formed Alliance of British Drivers 2, believes that positive measures to prevent road accidents are preferable to the negative and punitive policies which do so much to alienate drivers.
As Nigel Humphries, spokesperson for the newly formed alliance, explains:
“The vast majority of road accidents are caused by a lack of attention from one or more road users, whether they are drivers, cyclists or pedestrians. When driving, cycling or crossing the road, people should concentrate and avoid distractions such as mobile phones, conversations, or allowing their thoughts to stray onto other issues in their lives. Roads can be dangerous places and they deserve our full attention. The Government should use this opportunity to fund a publicity campaign promoting the need for all road users to pay their full attention when using the road. This campaign will need to be sustained to get the message across.”
Humphries continues:
“For drivers, while it is necessary to be competent in the technical aspects of car control, safe driving is mostly about having the right mental approach and attitude. Steve Haley's excellent book 'Mind Driving' explains how this may be achieved and should be read by all drivers, whether they are learners, have recently passed the test or have many years' experience 3. Driver training needs to be rethought to incorporate the need to instil the right beliefs and attitudes in new drivers.”
The Alliance believes that many policies pursued over the last twenty years have had a negative effect on road user attitudes and concentration. Drivers who are forced to travel below the natural speed of a road are likely to 'switch off' and let their minds wander. The increasing use of 20mph speed limits, far from producing the reductions in accidents expected, has actually led to increased casualties in some road user groups.

The Alliance urges the Government to reinstate the 85th percentile (the speed that only 15% of drivers exceed) as the basis of setting speed limits. This has been shown to produce the smoothest traffic flow with less overtaking, minimum accident frequency and a high level of voluntary compliance. It would also legalise the speed choices of the safest drivers, as those who travel in the 80th to 90th percentile range have the least accident involvement 4. Another constructive measure the Government might consider is introducing a system of positive licence points for drivers who have a good accident record and are free of convictions, or who have undergone additional training. These points could then be used to offset any negative points applied for an occasional lapse 5.

ABD chairman Brian Gregory concludes:
“We have endured decades of road safety policies that have ignored the real causes of road accidents and have instead focused on punishing drivers for breaches of increasingly irrelevant and simplistic regulations. Perhaps this year's Road Safety Week could see the beginning of a more enlightened approach that starts addressing the real issues that could lead to the safer roads we all want to see.”

 
 
NOTES FOR EDITORS
 
1. Details of Road Safety Week
2. The Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) was formed in October 2012 by the merger of the Association of British Drivers and the Drivers' Alliance PR 800
3. Books — Driving
4. Speed Limits: their correct use, setting, and enforcement
5. See PR 446 concerning Spain's system of positive points.
 
 
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