All road deaths are tragic and most are preventable. PACTS applauds the efforts of victims’ families and road safety campaigners to highlight this and demand action.
PACTS welcomes the reset of the government smart motorway programme in order to install stop vehicle detection on all sections by September 2022 and an additional 150 emergency refuge areas. These should improve safety and give drivers reassurance. The pause to gather further data is also welcome. Properly assessing safety is complex. All scheme types and road section will need to be individually reviewed by experienced safety experts.
We hope the pause will allow schemes with greater safety benefits to be prioritised in government’s Road Investment Strategy for the strategic road network. It will also allow schemes to be assessed under post-COP26 investment criteria. Schemes with lower speeds will improve safety and air quality and reduce carbon emissions.
This has been a difficult period for National Highways and the government. It has shown how road safety matters to the public – even on the “safest roads” in the UK. We urge the government to get on the front foot by publishing an ambitious road safety strategy with challenging casualty reduction targets backed by an effective action programme as soon as possible.
David G Davies
Executive Director, PACTS
12 January 2022