ABD Welcomes Conservative Proposals on Safety and Congestion
More Positive Action Needed on Driver Education and Road Design
The ABD welcomed today's announcement by Teresa Villiers on road safety and congestion, which signaled a reversal of the proliferation of speed cameras and traffic lights on Britain's roads. We are particularly pleased with the move towards greater transparency surrounding the information gathered by local authorities on accidents and congestion.
However, we would like to see more detail on how they propose to transform driving standards and to generate investment to fund genuine improvements in our road network without resorting to unacceptable road pricing.
"We are delighted that the Conservatives are breaking ranks with contemporary, negative thinking on safety and congestion," said Nigel Humphries. "For too long, badly thought out policies have obstructed our roads and penalized safe driving, and the mandarins in both Town Halls and Whitehall have been able to fob off legitimate objections by keeping the data they have collected under wraps."
Speed cameras have been a scourge on our road network for many years, and the ABD has long argued that, far from improving safety, they have actually made things worse by:
- Reducing the number of police patrols.
- Alienating the public by penalizing good driving.
- Facilitating lowering of speed limits against police advice.
- Undermining the ability of drivers to judge speed for themselves.
- Distorting the whole perception of how speed and safety relate.
A reduction in the reliance on cameras and a requirement for robust and open justification when they are used is long overdue.
The ABD would like to see a much stronger focus on improving driver standards, involving:
- A two stage driving test before a full licence is awarded (Pass Plus).
- Formal recognition of advanced driving qualifications.
- Better public information films dealing with hazard perception and the real
causes of accidents in place of propaganda trying to justify badly set speed limits.
Traffic lights have also been overused on Britain's roads, and there is mounting evidence that many lights have increased journey times rather than aided traffic flow. At conferences the ABD has attended, it is quite clear that this is a deliberate policy aimed at making car use unpleasant and promoting a "modal shift" onto buses and cycles. We hope that these proposals will lead to a complete reworking of policy on the use of traffic lights:
- Removal of unnecessary lights at lightly used junctions.
- Massive increase in "peak period only" lights which turn off when not required, especially on motorway junction roundabouts.
- Road improvement schemes must aim to separate vulnerable road users from traffic using under/overpasses rather than surface crossings.