TRANSPORT ENGINEERS need to take a more active role in reducing road fatalities caused by speeding motorists, transport select committee chairman Gwyenth Dunwoody MP said this week.
Speaking at an ICE conference - 'Fatally attracted to speed', - Dunwoody challenged engineers: 'Are you going to go away from here and say 'they ought to be doing something', or are you going to go away saying 'we ought to be doing something'? If it's the latter, then I'm on your side, ' she said.
Dunwoody's rallying call came after she had set out the 40-plus recommendations in the select committee's report 'Road traffic speed', published last week.
The report is heavily critical of the government's current approach to road safety. Specifically, it demands a reversal of the government's controversial speed camera policy (NCE last week), which requires that all cameras be made highly visible and only placed in areas with a proven accident rate of four deaths or serious injuries over the last three years.
The report also calls for a 40mph speed limit in rural lanes, a 30mph speed limit in rural villages, and the re-engineering of roads to ensure that speed limits are obeyed and to make roads safer and more pleasant for pedestrians.
These moves would be funded partly through local authority Local Transport Plans and partly through making road safety a priority of the ten year transport plan. A minimum of £3bn should be ring-fenced for road safety measures.
ICE president Mark Whitby backed the report and put the UK's sorry road safety performance in context with the rest of Europe.
'You can argue with the exact figures, but not the proportions.
You are three and a half times more likely to be killed walking in the UK than in Holland, ' Whitby said.
'You can do the comparison across Europe, and it is a similar story. These are shocking statistics against which we should be measuring governments and professionals, ' Whitby added.
INFOPLUS Download the select committee report at www. parliament. uk/ commons/selcom/tlrhome. htm