Foreword by Robert Gifford
Robert Gifford Executive Director
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS)
The annual RAC Report on Motoring represents an important insight into drivers' attitudes on the cost of motoring, the state of the road network and the underlying beliefs of road users.
Over the last two decades, there has been increasing focus on reducing the number of people killed and injured on our roads. In April this year, the Government published a consultation asking for views on making our roads the safest in the world - an aspiration with which I am sure most drivers would agree
There are, however, key challenges in meeting such a goal. First, policymakers need to engage with road users, to understand their concerns and to help meet them. The Audit Commission has suggested that targets can be more effective when those they have affected have been involved in their construction. We need to adopt such an approach in road safety policy, incorporating road users in the decision making process.
We also need to recognise the age divide that is beginning to emerge. For younger drivers, the mobile phone, whether as phone or text messaging service, is part of everyday life. This is a generation that has grown up with technology. As new technologies are introduced into the vehicle, they will pose little challenge. The flip side is that they may not bring the benefits of casualty reduction over the long term if drivers have become accustomed to them.
This all makes for an exciting time in policy formulation. Reports such as this can help us to focus our efforts to engage with the disaffected motorist, to improve the safety of our roads and to minimise the environmental impact of motoring.