Government announces new road safety proposals – how will they affect you?

Government announces new road safety proposals – how will they affect you?
A raft of new safety initiatives could soon be rolled out across the UK after the Government announced its ‘road safety action plan.’

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has revealed a major new package of measures aimed at cutting the number of people killed and injured on our roads.

The RAC broadly welcomes the 74 actions included in the Department for Transport (DfT) report, which range from banning newly-qualified drivers from driving at night to harsher penalties for some offences.

To help you understand what this safety plan might mean for you, we’ve looked at some of the more eye-catching proposals.

Penalty points for not using a seatbelt

Aside from putting yourself at risk of serious injury, failing to wear a seatbelt could soon see you hit with penalty points, alongside the current punishment of an on-the-spot fine of £100. This means that regular offenders could lose their licence.

According to DfT data, over a quarter (27%) of those killed in collisions in 2017 were not wearing a seatbelt. While the RAC supports the move, it has concerns over its implementation.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “This reinforces the importance of enforcement and we fear some drivers will persist without the genuine threat of being caught and prosecuted for not wearing a seatbelt.”

Policing review – public photos and dash cam footage to be used as evidence

A review into how our roads are policed is also included in the proposed measures – something the RAC has long campaigned for. 

Mr Lyes said: “With far fewer full-time officers on the roads, the prospect of many people being caught for offences that increase the safety risk on our roads – such as illegally using mobile phones – is worryingly low.”

Gaps in road policing could be filled by initiatives like Operation Snap and the National Dash Cam Portal which aim to increase the chances of identifying offending drivers and vehicles.

The DfT will be hoping that improved digital enforcement methods will provide more protection for vulnerable road users from aggressive driving behaviour.

Graduated driving licences – new drivers banned at night

The DfT is considering introducing restrictions on newly-qualified drivers, which could see them banned from driving at night or with passengers under a certain age.

Graduated licences are already in place in some EU countries and Mr Lyes welcomed plans to improve the safety prospects of young drivers – an age group over-represented in accident statistics.

He added: “We would also encourage the Government to look closely at providing incentives for the uptake of telematics-based policies for new drivers, and consider how any new rules governing new drivers can be effectively enforced.”

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Alcolock investigation to prevent drink driving

One initiative assesses the introduction of Alcolocks – devices that can immobilise a car if the driver fails a breath-test.

It’s proposed that Alcolock devices could be used to reduce drink-driving as part of rehabilitation packages for serial offenders across the UK.

An advisory committee to tackle the dangers of rural roads

Proposals also include the launch of a rural road users panel which would focus on the need to improve safety on the UK’s vast network of rural roads.

As Mr Lyes notes, the Government is right to focus on rural roads as this is where many serious collisions occur – yet they’re often overlooked in terms of road safety provision.

Mr Lyes said: “Incorporating plans for learner drivers to get more practice on these road types as well as night time driving will be beneficial to improving overall driving standards.

“We would hope a rural road users panel would focus on both road design standards, appropriate speed limits and overall rural road conditions.”

Other measures

Further proposals include plans to improve digital visibility of best driving practices for older road users.

The government is also consulting on the banning of all tyres aged 10 years or over from buses, coaches, and lorries – a law that could be introduced later this year.

In announcing the new proposals Chris Grayling said that, while the UK has some of the safest roads in the world, it’s important to avoid complacency and explore ways to make them even safer.

He added: “[The] action plan is a key milestone in our road safety work and sets out the important steps we are taking to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.”

Copyright Press Association 2019. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

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