Road safety cuts '0 economy'

Cuts on road safety budgets are a "0 economy", a motoring charity has warned, adding that reducing the number of road deaths could save the UK billions of pounds.

According to a report from theInstitute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), casualty-reduction targets by 2020 could save the lives of 2,500 people and save the economy more than £4 billion.

The Deaths and Injuries on Britain's Roads report revealed that the UK was on the top of the world road safety league of safest roads last year, and was sixth in 2007, and fourth in 2008.

Taking the European Union into account, the UK has half the road death rates of countries such as Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg and Portugal.

According to theIAM, every serious accident on UK's roads costs the economy £1.79 million in health care, lost output, pain and suffering.

Neil Greig,IAM policy and research director, said: "These staggering figures prove conclusively that investing in saving lives on the roads saves the country money, so funding being taken away from this area is a 0 economy.

"Meeting our casualty reduction targets has meant that deaths on Britain's roads have halved over the past 20 years with 31,000 deaths avoided and savings to the economy of around £50 billion.

"The IAM calculates that achieving similar targets for road deaths by 2020 would save society 2,500 lives and the economy over £4 billion."

He said it is important for public bodies to compensate for any cutbacks in funding for road safety.

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