The Alliance of British Drivers proposes a more realistic approach to reducing road casualties (1)
The Vision Zero concept has been adopted in several countries purportedly as a means to improving road safety. However, it is obvious that zero road casualties is an impossibility. Even if vehicles could be prevented from colliding, or could collide without causing injury, the likes of cyclists, for example, will still injure or kill themselves by falling off their bikes. Nothing good ever comes from policies based on unrealistic targets.
Vision Zero is simply an attempt to further reduce speed limits to levels that are economically and socially ruinous. Nothing seems to have been learned from the failure of 20mph limits to reduce casualties (2) or the continued flat-lining of casualty reduction due to the speed camera one-trick road safety ‘pony.’ Recent data from the DfT showing the contribution of slow drivers to casualties (3) reinforces the fact that the ’85th percentile’ is the safest speed (4,5,6,7,8) and speed limits should be set accordingly.
With regard to ‘safe road use’ within the safe system approach, the ABD believes that all road users have a responsibility to ensure that their actions do not put themselves or others at risk. Cooperation and courtesy between road users should be encouraged. Unfortunately, the transport policies adopted by many local authorities in recent years have alienated road users from one another. The road safety ‘establishment’ also largely dismisses the contribution that advanced driver training can have to improving safety, despite the fact that many insurance companies give discounts to drivers who have undergone such training.
The ABD recommends, therefore, that transport policies should be reviewed, especially where road space has been reallocated disproportionately to non-motorised road users for ideological reasons; that the contribution drivers make to the economy should be recognised; that drivers should be encouraged to take advanced training; and that road safety education, including that of future drivers, should be compulsory in all schools.
(1) An Effective Approach to the Attainment of Vision Zero: Vision-Zero
(2) 20mph speed limit study: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/20-mph-speed-limits-on-roads
(4) Department of Transport, Annex E to Circular Roads 1/80, The effect of altering levels of speed limits: summary of experience. 1980.
(5) Lave, Charles A, “Speeding, Coordination and the 55mph Limit,” The American Economic Review, Vol 75, No 5 (Dec, 1985) pp 1159-1164.
(6) Solomon, David, “Accidents on Main Rural Highways Related to Speed, Driver and Vehicle,” Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, July 1964.
(7) Hauer, Ezra, “Accidents, Overtaking and Speed Control,” Accident Analysis and Prevention, January 1971, 3, 1-12.
(8) Penn State News, “Crashes increase when speed limits dip far below engineering recommendation”. December 2018. https://news.psu.edu/story/551574/2018/12/12/research/crashes-increase-when-speed-limits-dip-far-below-engineering#.XBKrP4MYP-s.facebook