Government Puts A Price On Road Safety
AND IT’S £15 MILLION LESS THAN 4 YEARS AGO
In the same week that seat belts celebrated their 30 year anniversary, the Government announced their road safety campaign spending figures for 2011/12 – and it was £15 million less than the £19 million in 2008/09; that’s an immense 80% drop.
When I say “has announced” I actually mean that these figures were revealed after a freedom of information enquiry by road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IMA). But in the 2012/13 financial year the Department for Transport plans to spend £3.7 million on road safety.
This breaks down into: £53,000 on cyclist safety, £78,000 on child and teenager road safety, £50,000 on research into young drivers, £1.275 million on motorcycle campaigns, and £1.685 million on drink-drive campaigns.
It might seem a lot but in 2011 the total cost of fatal road accidents was £3.2 billion – and that doesn’t include the emotional and social costs that are completely immeasurable.
IAM director of policy Neil Greig said: “Right across the public sector road safety is being cut too hard and too quickly, despite the huge returns on investment. One life saved, saves the economy £1.7 million. £53,000 is a derisory amount to spend on national cycle safety campaigns. Until we have the right roads infrastructure in place, publicity and education campaigns are one of the few tools we have to help us save cyclists lives. £78,000 for children’s safety campaigns is virtually insignificant. If the government is serious about safety for these groups, these amounts must be increased. “
“The successful drink driving and biker campaigns have raised awareness of these issues and they both appear to be working. The government needs to match that kind of expenditure and take the safety of children and cyclists seriously.”
Without a full breakdown, that figure of a life lost on the road costing the economy £1.7 million seems a bit unbelievable, but it is an oft-quoted figure and must be right. So it makes these DfT figures being used to promote safety seem almost derisory – and probably are. But until people start using their brains and common sense, then there will always be accidents – with or without road safety campaigns.