Welcome to RoadPeace e-news. In this edition we focus on the forthcoming Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 and remind you about our event 'Saving People and Planet' on May 11 to mark the launch. We also update you on recent developments in our Justice Campaign, Support services and Remembrance activities.
Amy Aeron-Thomas, Executive Director
Road Danger Reduction
UN Decade of Action for Road Safety - tackling the global epidemic of traffic related death and injury
On Wednesday 11 May the UN is launching the Decade of Action for Road Safety with events planned around the world to commemorate its start. A Global Plan outlines a range of activities with the aim of stabilising and then stopping the predicted rise of annual road deaths from nearly 1.3 million to 1.9 million by 2020.
We welcome this opportunity to focus on and act to stop the terrible global epidemic of road death, but we are concerned that the actions proposed within the Plan focus more on protecting car occupants than pedestrians and cyclists, despite the majority of those being killed being outside cars, and with few people in low income countries expected to own a car by the end of the decade.
We are also alarmed at the acceptance and even encouragement of the predicted growth in global motorization in the Global Plan, with only token reference made to environmental and public health concerns. The FIA Foundation (which was established in 2001 with a donation of $300 million from the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the non-profit federation of motoring organisations and the governing body of world motor sport) has spearheaded the Decade of Action, but recently suggested that you can "Buy a car. Stop a road death" with its proposal that road safety is funded via a voluntary levy on new cars.
Our call for a road danger reduction approach to the Decade
We are marking the beginning of the Decade with an early evening of talks where we will be calling for a road danger reduction approach with more done to protect people and planet. From 5-7 pm on Wednesday 11 May, at the John Snow Lecture Theatre, LSHTM, we will hear from a number of speakers who will explore through a series of engaging and inspiring presentations why reducing road danger, through the reduction in speed, volume and dominance of motorised vehicles, is essential not only to reduce road deaths but also to tackle the twin crises of climate change and obesity.
- Professor Ian Roberts (LSHTM and author of The Energy Glut)
- Dr Mayer Hillman (Policy Studies Institute)
- Duncan Kay (Sustainable Development Commission, author of Fairness in a car dependent world)
- Dr Ashok Sinha (London Cycling Campaign)
- Jenny Jones (London Assembly Member, Green Party)
This is a free event and all are welcome to attend.
» Download your event invite
Campaign for Justice for road crash victims
New project—Getting counted, getting included
Thanks to a grant from the Network for Social Change, RoadPeace will be able to double its efforts campaigning for justice for road crash victims. Our new project Getting counted, getting included will focus on raising awareness of the discrimination that road crash victims face by not being counted and thus excluded from victims of crime statistics, as well as how traffic safety is often left out of community consultations and crime surveys. We will also highlight what is being done to promote good practice in collision investigation and criminal prosecution in this time of spending cuts.
Causing death by driving
In 2009, a total of 439 drivers were convicted of causing a death. This included 275 by Causing Death by Dangerous Driving and 35 by Causing Death by Driving Whilst Under the Influence. Of the new charges, there were only 88 drivers convicted of Causing Death by Careless or Inconsiderate Driving and 28 by Causing Death by Driving Whilst Unlicensed, Disqualified or Uninsured. RoadPeace has produced a briefing summarising the prosecutions, convictions and sentencing. On average only one in five drivers surviving a fatal crash is prosecuted for causing it. The person a driver is most likely to kill is themselves, with drivers almost three times more likely to die in a crash than be prosecuted for causing a fatal crash.
Proposed causing death by dangerous/reckless cycling bill
RoadPeace has written to Andrea Leadsom, the Northamptonshire MP who recently proposed a Causing Death by Dangerous/Reckless Cycling Bill. This proposal was in response to the death of a 17 year old pedestrian who was hit by a cyclist on the pavement. RoadPeace believes that all road users should be held accountable for their actions, but that there is a need for reform that covers both driving and cycling. We are aware of cases where pedestrians hit by a car on the pavement have resulted in the driver only being convicted of Causing Death by Careless Driving.
Crash not accident
Our campaign for constructive terminology continues. The Guardian recently addressed this issue but concluded by arguing that accident was 'a neutral term– 'a drink driver may be negligent and dangerous, but even they don't deliberately set out to kill anyone'. We disagree and have responded to the Guardian explaining why, and have urged our members and supporters to do so also.
We have also updated our Crash not Accident briefing to mark the launch of the Decade of Action on May 11 - as others argue 'Death and injury on the world's roads is arguably the single most neglected human development challenge. The vocabulary of the road traffic injury epidemic helps to explain the neglect…road traffic deaths and injuries are widely perceived as 'accidents'.
The RoadPeace Resilience Building Support Programme has received full funding from the Ministry of Justice for the next three years. This is very good news and means we are now able to run trauma support groups twice a year in London and in addition roll the programme out to Thames Valley, the North West and South West over the next two years.
A Befriender training day was held in London in March. We will be running one in Manchester in September, please contact the office if you are interested in attending.
The updated RoadPeace Internet Memorial site is being launched on 11 May, in recognition of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. It is a public site of remembrance where people can post memorials and tributes and share their personal memories with others. But taken as a whole, the site also provides a collective recognition of the impact of road deaths upon our society. The design of the site makes a strong link to our Remember Me roadside memorial plaques that are often placed at fatal crash sites. We still support the need for roadside memorials but will be engaging with local authorities about the ways that the two types of memorials can work together. We were encouraged by the handling of the street memorial to knife-victim, Ben Kinsella. When the Metropolitan Police and Islington Council removed the tributes left for Ben, they took photographs and placed the images on a dedicated website, so that his family and friends had a lasting memory when the site was cleared. We will be encouraging local authorities to use our internet memorial site, so that the same can happen upon the removal of roadside memorials.
Local group action
RoadPeace North West - May meeting
Rod King, the founder and coordinator of the 20s plenty for us campaign organisation, gave a presentation at the May meeting of our Liverpool group. The Merseyside Police representatives clarified that there was no policy on 20 mph limits and these were decided on an individual basis. The Police also mentioned that the Merseyside Police Authority was proposing that the Roads Policing Unit to be responsible for investigating all injury collisions, thereby relieving borough police of this function.
RoadPeace South West - June meeting
On June 4, the RoadPeace South West local group is meeting in Bristol at Metcalf's Solicitors to discuss the focus and the activities of the group over the next year. At the meeting in March, Adrian Davis, author of Essential Evidence, was the guest speaker and presented the preliminary findings of Bristol's 20mph pilot which is undergoing an extensive evaluation.
The RoadPeace London group will be meeting formally for the first time on Wednesday 1st June. at 7pm, at our offices in SW9. The focus for our first meeting will be speed reduction in Lambeth and Southwark. All are welcome to attend. For more information please contact the office on 020 7733 1603.
News from the Office
Join the team
We are looking for a full time Advocacy and Support Manager, to join our small busy team and work in our London office based in Brixton, SW9.
Are you a member?
RoadPeace is proud to be the only membership based road victims' charity founded on the principle of road danger reduction. We rely on an active and thriving membership to support our work. Please join us and add your voice to our campaign for justice for road crash victims and road danger reduction.