Research & Policy: Have we got the balance right? Claire Corbett

Since the shift towards reliance on evidence-led policies the amount and salience of road safety research commissioned by government and other public bodies has increased substantially. This paper examines research knowledge that has helped to inform recent policies contained in the 2005 Road Safety Bill and Consultation Paper on Offences involving Bad Driving and considers whether the balance between research and policy is about right, whether more research is needed or whether missed policy opportunities from research can be identified. Focus is on the offences of unlicensed and uninsured driving, speeding, impaired driving (drink, drugs and other medical aspects) and bad driving, where much research has been targeted. Concern is expressed to ensure adequate resources are made available to provide the enforcement capability required to police new, modified and still troublesome offences and policy-makers are asked to consider gender differences when assessing public support for changes to traffic law enforcement policy. The paper concludes by asserting the value of recent research in steering current policy towards practices likely to help in casualty reduction but regrets the failure to proceed with some bolder moves supported by research.


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