Road accidents cost UK economy £15.5bn a year, says road safety minister
Last year’s 1901 road deaths and 23,000 serious injuries represents an economic cost of more than £15.5bn to the UK, said Stephen Hammond, the Minister for Transport, responsible for road safety and standards. Speaking today at the official opening of a new Euro NCAP crash test facility at Thatcham, he said that consumer information was a viable alternative to legislation to address the issue.
“We have a vision for a transport system that can deliver economic growth, but also one that is as safe as possible and that can improve the quality of lives of its users,” he said. “Besides the pain they cause to families, the 1901 deaths and 23,000 serious injuries represents an economic cost of more than £15.5bn to the country. We want to promote continuing innovation by car manufacturers to reduce fatal and serious injuries.”
Hammond test-drove a car fitted with autonomous emergency braking, a crash avoidance technology that researchers say will reduce the number of all accidents by around 25%. He said: Advances in car technology are going to bring about real benefits in terms of safety, particularly for the protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.”
Asked if he would like to see collision avoidance technologies, also known as “autonomous emergency braking”, made mandatory. He answered: “I’m not ruling it out for the future, but it’s not on the agenda.”
When it comes to government and EU policy, it isn’t clear what exactly is on the agenda. It really sounds like it’s just up to motorists to buy and drive more carefully. It would be a lot easier to do that if the standards for manufacturers and drivers were set a little higher as well.