Safe Speed: New Home Office figures hide bad news for road safety
Thu, 30 Mar 2006

Home Office figures released today show bad news for road safety and bad news for drivers.

Careless driving offences are up by 60%, but only becuase they fiddled the figures to include the offence of using a mobile phone while driving.

Figures for the offence of 'failing to identify the driver' (S172) are hidden away in the 'miscellaneous' group which is showing large increase in the number of offences. This is the hidden part of the speeding offence statistics. The rise of 30% in the miscellaneous groups probably hides a larger than 30% increase in S172 offences.

Breath tests are up, but the proportion of positive breath tests is down. It is possible that this indicates fewer drunk drivers on our roads, but it is more likely to indicate poorer targetting of breat tests by police.

The number of offences detected by speed camera is up by 6%, and the number of speeding offences detected by police is down by 29% to 191,000. This is bad news because speeding offences detected by Police have some road safety value while camera offences have a negative impact on road safety.

Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign
( said: "These new statistics do not suggest that we are doing anything to improve road safety. They show that we're hitting easy and ineffective targets, rather than taking the trouble to identify those causing a danger to others."

"As drivers are more and more focused on legal driving they are less and less focused on safe driving. That's why we're 1,000 road deaths per year behind target. Our current road safety policy is directly and indirectly responsible for failing to save over 8,000 in the last decade." End of item

To read more about the views of Safe Speed click here.