Road Safety Bill 2005
Progress of the Bill
The Road Safety Bill has completed its passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent on 8 November 2006. It was debated at Report and Third Reading Stage in the House of Commons on the 9th of October and was then returned to the House of Lords for consideration of Commons amendments on the 1st of November. At this stage, the Lords may not amend the text of the Bill but only accept or reject the amendments made by the other House, although they may make ‘amendments in lieu’. The Commons gave consideration to the Lords messages, which outline “disagreements, reasons and suggested amendments in lieu”, on the 6th of November and the Bill was finally accepted by the Lords in their debate on 7 November.
In the end, there were three areas of contention between the two Houses. One was the use of surplus revenue generated by safety cameras, with the Lords insisting on any surplus money being available for road safety purposes, rather than going into consolidated funds.
The requirement for HGVs to be fitted with retro-reflective tape was also a topic of debate, centring around the Opposition’s preference for the UK to introduce this requirement in advance of an EU-wide directive. The Government motion was endorsed and the status quo on this issue has been retained.
As one of the most significant clauses, introducing the new offence of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving sparked heated argument and the provision for custodial sentences for cases heard in a Magistrate’s court was initially rejected by the House of Lords, because of concern that such an offence “runs the risk of criminalising individuals for a momentary lapse of concentration”. After much debate and insistence from the Commons, it has been reinstated to provide for a custodial sentences for the offence.
Content of the Bill
During the many stages of the Bill’s progress, topics highlighted by Members and Peers for further discussion included the new offence of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving, penalties for speeding drivers, level crossing provisions, penalties for failing to insure or register a vehicle and blood alcohol content levels.
PACTS has outlined its concerns with the Bill over the past months including the issues of:
Targeted breath testing
Speeding on restricted roads
Vehicle data recording devices
Seat belt penalties
Single/double summer time
Work-related road safety
Work-related road safety was one important issue that did not attract due attention during the debates. PACTS prepared a briefing note and amendment on work-related road safety that would broaden the Coroner’s powers to inquire into the causes of a work-related road death, aimed at raising the profile of work related road safety.
House of Lords Consideration of Commons Messages
7 November 2006
House of Commons Consideration of Lords Messages
6 November 2006
House of Lords Consideration of Commons Amendments
1 November 2006
House of Commons Third Reading and Report Stage
9 October 2006
House of Commons Committee Stage
20 April 2006
18 April 2006
28 March 2006
23 March 2006
21 March 2006
House of Commons Second Reading Debate 8 March 2006
House of Lords Third Reading Stage 10 January 2006
House of Lords Report Stage
29 November 2005
22 November 2005
House of Lords Committee Stage
26 October 2005
17 October 2005
4 July 2005
27 June 2005
House of Lords Second Reading
8 June 2005
PACTS has outlined the key issues in the Bill and where further action could be taken to improve road safety:
Road Safety Bill House of Commons Third Reading and Report Stage Briefing (October 2006)
Work-related road safety (July 2006)
Road Safety Bill House of Commons Second Reading Briefing (March 2006)
Road Safety Bill House of Lords Report Stage Briefing (November 2005)
RoadSafety Bill House of Lords Second Reading Briefing (June 2005)
The Road Safety Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 24 May 2005 and was second read on 8 June 2005.
PACTS is keen to see these amendments adopted in an effort to improve road safety.