My noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) made the following ministerial statement on Monday 21 December 2015.
The Government are committed to investing in national road safety; this is not solely because of the tragic human consequences of road deaths and injuries. Safer roads and safer road users save lives, but they also help to reduce pressure on the NHS and emergency services, keep traffic moving and, as a result, keep our economy growing.
My hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Andrew Jones, is today publishing a road safety statement that sets out the Government’s vision, values and priorities for improving the safety of Britain’s roads. This statement describes the context of road safety in Britain today and the overarching scope of road safety activity for the Government. It will be followed by consultations on specific issues as options are developed. The statement covers road safety policy within Britain as governed by the Department for Transport (DfT).
In the short and medium term, the main specific actions that we will take include:
Outlining our proposals on dangerous in-car mobile phone use, reported by the RAC as being one of motorists’ top concerns, with a view to increasing penalties for drivers using a hand-held mobile phone. This road safety statement will be followed shortly by a more detailed consultation and impact assessment on this topic. The increases proposed are:
that the vast majority of first time offenders will not incur a fixed penalty notice or penalty points but will instead be offered an educational course. Whether to invite a motorist to a course is at the discretion of the police;
for the majority of vehicles (cars, vans, motorbikes), an increase from the current three penalty points to four;
an increase in the level of the fixed penalty notice from the current £100 to £150;
more significant penalties for larger vehicles, such as HGVs, where the consequences of a collision can be much more severe, so that the penalty points increase from the current three to six.
A £750,000 grant in 2015/16 for police forces in England and Wales to build drug-driving enforcement capability, consulting on options for a drug-drive rehabilitation scheme course and a High Risk Offenders regime for drug-drivers;
Consulting on legislative changes to improve urban cycle safety by ensuring that sideguards and rear under-run devices are not removed from HGVs but remain permanently fitted;
Consulting on proposals to support safety for motorcyclists, who account for 19% of all road deaths, including better training and improved safety equipment;
Consulting on ways to incentivise and reward the uptake of more pre-test practice, as announced in our Motoring Services Strategy consultation on 13 November, and a broader range of real-world driving experiences, including deregulating to allow Approved Driving Instructors with dual-controlled cars to offer lessons on motorways to learner drivers;
Undertaking a £2 million research programme to identify the best possible interventions for learner and novice drivers; and
Undertaking a road safety management capacity review, to identify areas for improved joint working, local innovation and efficiency.
A copy of the Road Safety Statement will be placed in the House Libraries and will also be available on the Government website: www.gov.uk.
[l] Motoring Services Strategy consultation. Department for Transport, published November 2015.